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Saturday, August 9, 2014

WHITE HOUSE READOUTS: PRESIDENT OBAMA'S CALLS WITH PRESIDENT HOLLANDE OF FRANCE AND CHANCELLOR MERKEL OF GERMANY

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE 
Readout of the President's Call with President Hollande of France

The President spoke this morning with President Hollande of France about the latest developments in Iraq. The two leaders agreed on the need for an urgent, coordinated international response to the humanitarian disaster unfolding on Mount Sinjar. They underscored the serious threat that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant poses to all Iraqi communities throughout the country, and discussed the need to support the Iraqis by increasing their ability to counter these extremists. The two Presidents also discussed the targeted strikes that the Unites States is undertaking to protect U.S. personnel and prevent ISIL's advance on Erbil, and agreed to work together on a longer term strategy to counter ISIL.

Readout of the President’s Call with Chancellor Merkel of Germany

The President spoke today with Chancellor Merkel of Germany regarding the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. The two leaders agreed that any Russian intervention in Ukraine, even under purported "humanitarian" auspices, without the formal, express consent and authorization of the Government of Ukraine is unacceptable, violates international law, and will provoke additional consequences. They reiterated that we continue to urge Russia to engage with the international community and the Ukrainian government to find a political solution to the crisis.

President Obama Gives an Update on the Situation in Iraq

Weekly Address: American Operations in Iraq

PRESIDENT OBAMA SIGNS VETERANS ACCESS, CHOICE AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT MARKS 47TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FOUNDING OF ASEAN

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

Marking the Anniversary of the Founding of ASEAN

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 7, 2014




On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I join the 620 million people of the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in marking the 47th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN on August 8.

So much of the history of the 21st century will be written in Asia, and the longest chapters of that history will be driven by what happens in Southeast Asia. That’s why our engagement in this strategically vital region is constant and comprehensive.

In the coming days, I’ll be joining ASEAN ministers in Naypyidaw for in-depth discussions on economic integration, environmental cooperation, and regional security. ASEAN plays a central role in supporting peace and prosperity in Asia, and the ASEAN Way has come to represent strength, resilience, harmony, and unity. It’s a reminder that ASEAN’s transformation from regional organization to global leader isn’t just possible. It’s powerful, and it’s real.

Since the United States began its dialogue with ASEAN almost 37 years ago, our relationship has developed into a mature partnership. We’re taking on big challenges and seizing even bigger opportunities – from maritime security and transnational crime, to humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, economic engagement, clean energy, education, people-to-people exchanges, rule of law, and development in the Lower Mekong sub-region. And that’s just some of what makes our partnership one of the most exciting and promising on the planet.

The United States celebrates the anniversary of the founding of ASEAN, and we look forward to strengthening our partnership in the region and across the globe.

U.S. OBTAINS $480 MILLION OF STOLEN MONEY, LARGEST FORFEITURE EVER OBTAINED THROUGH KLEPTOCRACY ACTION

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Thursday, August 7, 2014
U.S. Forfeits Over $480 Million Stolen by Former Nigerian Dictator in Largest Forfeiture Ever Obtained Through a Kleptocracy Action

The Department of Justice has forfeited more than $480 million in corruption proceeds hidden in bank accounts around the world by former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and his co-conspirators.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Assistant Director in Charge Valerie Parlave of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement after a judgment was entered on Aug. 6, 2014, by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates of the District of Columbia.

“Rather than serve his county, General Abacha used his public office in Nigeria to loot millions of dollars, engaging in brazen acts of kleptocracy,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “With this judgment, we have forfeited $480 million in corruption proceeds that can be used for the benefit of the Nigerian people.  Through the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division denies kleptocrats like Abacha the fruits of their crimes, and protects the U.S. financial system from money laundering.  In coordination with our partners in Jersey, France and the United Kingdom, we are helping to end this chapter of corruption and flagrant abuse of office.”

“We remain steadfast in protecting the U.S. banking system from becoming a tool for dictators to hide their criminal proceeds,” said Assistant Director in Charge Parlave.  “This court order bolsters the FBI’s ability to combat international corruption and money laundering by seizing the assets of those involved.  I want to thank the special agents, financial analysts and prosecutors whose hard work over the years resulted in today’s announcement.”

The forfeited assets represent the proceeds of corruption during and after the military regime of General Abacha, who assumed the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through a military coup on Nov. 17, 1993, and held that position until his death on June 8, 1998.  The complaint alleges that General Abacha, his son Mohammed Sani Abacha, their associate Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and others embezzled, misappropriated and extorted billions of dollars from the government of Nigeria and others, then laundered their criminal proceeds through U.S. financial institutions and the purchase of bonds backed by the United States.  

The judgment is the result of a civil forfeiture complaint the department filed in November 2013 against more than $625 million in the largest kleptocracy forfeiture action brought in the department’s history.  The forfeiture judgment includes approximately $303 million in two bank accounts in the Bailiwick of Jersey, $144 million in two bank accounts in France, and three bank accounts in the United Kingdom and Ireland with an expected value of at least $27 million.  The ultimate disposition of the funds will follow the execution of the judgment in each of these jurisdictions.  Claims to an additional approximately $148 million in four investment portfolios in the United Kingdom are pending.

As alleged in the complaint, General Abacha and others systematically embezzled billions of dollars in public funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria on the false pretense that the funds were necessary for national security.  The conspirators withdrew the funds in cash and then moved the money overseas through U.S. financial institutions.  General Abacha and his finance minister also allegedly caused the government of Nigeria to purchase Nigerian government bonds at vastly inflated prices from a company controlled by Bagudu and Mohammed Abacha, generating an illegal windfall of more than $282 million.  In addition, General Abacha and his associates allegedly extorted more than $11 million from a French company and its Nigerian affiliate in connection with payments on government contracts.  Funds involved in each of these schemes were allegedly laundered through the United States.

This case was brought under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative by a team of dedicated prosecutors in the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, working in partnership with federal law enforcement agencies to forfeit the proceeds of foreign official corruption and, where appropriate, to use those recovered assets to benefit the people harmed by these acts of corruption and abuse of office.  Individuals with information about possible proceeds of foreign corruption located in or laundered through the United States should contact federal law enforcement or send an email to kleptocracy@usdoj.gov.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Elizabeth Aloi and Assistant Deputy Chief Daniel Claman of the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, with substantial support from the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs.  The department appreciates the extensive assistance provided by the governments of Jersey, France and the United Kingdom in this investigation.

FORMER ATTORNEY SENTENCED TO 70 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR ROLE IN $28.3 MILLION MEDICARE FRAUD

Thursday, August 7, 2014
FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT

Disbarred Attorney Sentenced to Prison for Her Role in $28.3 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

A disbarred Florida attorney was sentenced in federal court in Tampa, Florida today to serve 70 months in prison in connection with her role in a $28.3 million Medicare fraud scheme involving false claims for physical and occupational therapy services.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III for the Middle District of Florida, Acting Special Agent in Charge Reginald France of the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) region including all of Florida and Special Agent in Charge Paul Wysopal of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office made the announcement.   The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew of the Middle District of Florida.

Margarita Grishkoff, 60, of Charlotte, North Carolina, formerly of southwest Florida, pleaded guilty on Jan. 24, 2014, to conspiracy to commit health care fraud.   In addition to serving a prison term of 70 months, Grishkoff was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $14,424,856 in restitution, jointly and severally with her co-conspirators.

Grishkoff admitted as part of her guilty plea that she and her co-conspirators submitted approximately $28.3 million in fraudulent reimbursement claims to Medicare through physical therapy clinics throughout Florida from 2005 through 2009.   Medicare paid approximately $14.4 million on those claims.

According to court documents, Grishkoff, a former attorney who was disbarred in Florida in 1997, was vice president and director for a Delaware holding company known as Ulysses Acquisitions Inc.   Through Ulysses Acquisitions, Grishkoff purchased comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facilities and outpatient physical therapy providers, including West Coast Rehab Inc. in Fort Myers, Florida; Rehab Dynamics Inc. in Venice, Florida; Polk Rehabilitation Inc. in Lake Wales, Florida and Renew Therapy Center of Port St. Lucie LLC in Port St. Lucie, Florida, to gain control of these clinics’ Medicare provider numbers.

Grishkoff and her co-conspirators paid kickbacks to patient recruiters and clinic owners to obtain identifying information of Medicare beneficiaries and physicians.   Grishkoff and her co-conspirators then used this information to create and submit false claims to Medicare through the clinics Ulysses Acquisitions purchased.   These claims sought reimbursement for therapy services that were not legitimately prescribed and not actually provided.

Also according to court documents, Grishkoff and her co-conspirators used the clinics they controlled to submit false reimbursement claims to Medicare on behalf of clinics owned by others, in exchange for a percentage of the Medicare reimbursement received.   These Miami-based therapy clinics included Hallandale Rehabilitation Inc., Tropical Physical Therapy Corporation, American Wellness Centers Inc. and West Regional Center Inc.   Grishkoff and her co-conspirators kept approximately 20 percent of the money Medicare paid on these claims and paid the other 80 percent of the fraud proceeds to the co-conspirator clinic owners.

Grishkoff further admitted that after falsely billing Medicare through Ulysses Acquisitions, and in order to disassociate herself from the clinics, Grishkoff and her co-conspirators arranged sham sales of the clinics to nominee or straw owners, all of whom were recent immigrants to the United States with no background or experience in the health care industry.

The case is being investigated by HHS-OIG and the FBI and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.   The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Christopher J. Hunter and Andrew H. Warren of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Simon A. Gaugush of the Middle District of Florida.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 1,900 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion.   In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

SECRETARY KERRY MAKES REMARKS AT U.S.-AFRICA CLEAN ENERGY FINANCE INITIATIVE SIGNING CEREMONY

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

Remarks at the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative Signing Ceremony

Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Washington, DC
August 5, 2014


Thank you for being with us. All of us in this room understand that the challenges we face today increasingly present a sort of blurred line between economic policy and foreign policy. I’ve said frequently foreign policy is economic policy, and economic policy is foreign policy. And our shared prosperity globally depends on how well we work together to be able to promote trade, attract investment, facilitate commercial activity, and especially innovation.

So it’s not just a privilege for me to be able to be here with the OPIC President Elizabeth Littlefield and USTDA Director Lee Zak, it’s a responsibility. And I am enormously grateful for their partnership, and you’ll understand why as we describe what we’re going to be doing.
We all know that climate change is a crisis that waits for no one and it respects no border. It’s not a challenge of the future; it’s here now. We are witnessing it in country after country in various ways whether it’s water supplies, drought, food agriculture, food security, fisheries, you name it. There isn’t a part of the world where they aren’t having some consequence as a result of what is happening. And it’s also happening at a pace that is particularly alarming to people. We also know that focusing only on sort of that reality without providing some alternatives is not adequate. And we’re not going to do that, particularly when there are remarkable opportunities that are staring us in the face.

The fact is that good energy solutions are climate solutions. The solution to climate change is energy policy – the choices that we make with respect to our energy polices of the future. And nowhere is that more true than in Africa. Africa can be a clean energy beacon for the world, and energy prosperity can actually replace energy poverty. This morning I met with the chair of the African Union, and she was talking to me as I did – in fact, with several presidents of countries, all of whom talked to me about their desire to leapfrog the mistakes, to go quickly into clean and alternative and renewable energy rather than the exploitation of fossil fuel and carbon and all of the problems that come with it.

The United States wants to support countries across Africa that make that transition to the clean energy future more rapidly. And that’s why we launched the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative. And that’s why I am proud to announce today that we are planning to commit an additional $10 million to this effort.

More than 600 million Africans, nearly twice the population of the United States of America, live without access to electricity today. And our challenge is clear: We need to change those numbers and replace them with a partnership that benefits all sides by making sure that African companies, African cities, African towns, African families have access to clean and renewable energy. Through President Obama’s Power Africa initiative and the agreements that OPIC and TDA are signing today, we are doing exactly that.

And I’m very proud that U.S.-ACEF is elevating our efforts in very tangible ways. Our partners are using U.S.-ACEF funding to develop the first utility-scale wind power project in Senegal. They’re developing Rwanda’s first large-scale, grid-connected solar PV project. And they’re developing plans for hydro-plants in Rwanda that will supply power to Shyira Hospital and villages in the north, bringing electricity to thousands of households for the very first time.
Now I want to emphasize the work that we are doing here is not hypothetical, it’s not future, it’s not a theory; it’s real and it’s now. And it’s real lives that we are improving as a consequence.
I’ll never forget just a few months ago I walked into the Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Addis Ababa. And as I walked into the front gate, on the back I saw this big sign on the wall saying “Ethiopia and the United States of America investing in a healthy future together.” That sign tells it all, my friends. Together we’re not just investing in a healthier future today; we’re investing in a cleaner, more sustainable future for all Africans. And that is the challenge that we face, and it’s one that we believe will be made easier as people everywhere begin to realize that the 21st century, the challenge of developing clean and renewable sources of energy in this century isn’t a break on economic growth. It’s not something that holds you back. It is, in fact, the definition of possibilities. It is the engine of economic growth. And we intend to prove that with this initiative and with these projects and with so much more of what will happen with respect to the energy choices of Africa.

Thank you. (Applause.)

FTC ACCUSES 'YELLOW PAGES' BUSINESS WITH SCAMMING SMALL BUSINESSES AND OTHERS

FROM:  U.S. FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
FTC Sues Online ‘Yellow Pages’ Operation for Scamming Small Businesses, Doctors’ Offices, Retirement Homes, and Religious Schools
At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a federal court has halted, pending litigation, an Oklahoma City-based operation that allegedly bilked hundreds of thousands of dollars from small businesses, doctors’ offices, retirement homes, and religious schools throughout the country by charging them for unwanted listings in an online “yellow pages” directory. The FTC seeks to permanently stop the illegal practices, which generated a large number of complaints to the FTC and the Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma.

According to a complaint filed by the FTC, Your Yellow Book (YYB) faxed documents that resembled invoices with the well-known “walking fingers” image to consumers with whom they had no preexisting relationship, asking them to “verify” or “update” their current listing information in their actual listing in YYB’s Internet business directory. The documents requested payment of up to $487 from consumers. Many consumers paid, believing YYB’s claims that their organization had agreed to be listed in the directory. Some consumers were told they would have to pay a fee to cancel.

The complaint names Brandie Michelle Law, Dustin R. Law, Robert Ray Law, and Your Yellow Book Inc, also doing business as Your Yellow Book. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service had issued cease-and-desist orders to Brandie Law and Robert Law, in 2011 and 2012, for similar misconduct.

The defendants are charged with misrepresenting that consumers had a preexisting business relationship with them and that consumers agreed to buy a directory listing and thus owed the defendants money, in violation of the FTC Act.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Division, was 5-0. The court entered a temporary restraining order against the defendants on July 25, 2014.

The FTC would like to thank the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Office of the Oklahoma Attorney General, and the Oklahoma City Better Business Bureau for their assistance in this matter.

Friday, August 8, 2014

U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT CONTRACTS FOR AUGUST 8, 2014

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 

CONTRACTS

MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY

Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training, Moorestown, New Jersey, has been awarded a $193,610,317 modification (P00150) to previously awarded contract number HQ0276-10-C-0001 for procurement of necessary material, equipment, and supplies to conduct the technical engineering to define, develop, integrate and test Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense 4.1 and 5.0 Capability Upgrade baselines through their respective certifications. This modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $2,002,542,722 from $1,808,932,405. Work will be performed at Moorestown, New Jersey, with an expected completion date of May 31, 2016. fiscal 2014 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $19,500,000 are being obligated at time of award. The Missile Defense Agency, Dahlgren, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

AIR FORCE

J.K. Hill & Associates Inc.,* Virginia Beach, Virginia (FA8224-14-D-5001); Sunrise Beach Corp.,* doing business as: M2 Services, McKinney, Texas (FA8224-14-D-5002); Affordable Engineering Services LLC,* Coronado, California (FA8224-14-D-5003); Aerospace Engineering & Support Inc.,* Ogden, Utah (FA8224-14-D-5004); M1 Support Services LP,* Denton, Texas (FA8224-14-D-5005); Precision Turbines Inc.,* Boca Raton, Florida (FA8224-14-D-5006); and Zenetex LLC,* Herndon, Virginia (FA8224-14-D-5007), have each been awarded a $96,500,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for depot on-site contractor augmentee teams (DOCAT). DOCATs are needed to augment government personnel who perform maintenance and related tasks, including modification, maintenance, inspection, corrosion control, overhaul, and repair of various weapon systems to include, but not limited to F-16, A-10, F-22, C-130, F-35, F-4, related components, missiles, ground support equipment and vehicles. Work will be performed at the Ogden Air Logistics Complex, Utah, and satellite operating locations to include Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, Arizona; Aircraft Maintenance Group, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas; Missile Maintenance Group, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming; Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana; and Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. The work is expected to be completed by Aug. 8, 2019. This award is the result of a 100 percent small business set-aside competitive acquisition. An unlimited number of small business offers were solicited and eight offers were received. Depot Maintenance Activity Group, no-year, non-expiring funds in the amount of $2,500 are being obligated for each contractor at time of award. Air Force Sustainment Center/OL:H/PZIEB, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity.

Jacobs Technology Inc., Bedford, Massachusetts, has been awarded a $21,143,345 cost-plus-fixed-fee and cost-reimbursable contract modification (P00009) for FA8721-14-C-0018 to provide engineering and technology acquisition support services which consist of disciplined systems/specialty engineering and technical/information assurance services, support, and products using established government, contractor, and industry processes. Work will be performed at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts; Washington, District of Columbia; Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma; Langley Air Force Base, Virginia; Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; Robins Air Force Base, Georgia; Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado; and Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, and is expected to be completed by April 30, 2015. This award is the result of a sole source acquisition. Fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2014 procurement, aircraft procurement, research and development, and operations and maintenance funds (including both Air Force and Department of Defense) in the amount of $2,464,559 are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/PZM, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, is the contracting activity.

ARMY

AGEISS Inc.,* Evergreen, Colorado (W9128F14-D-0018); Cti-Urs Environmental Services LLC,* Wixom, Michigan (W9128F14-D-0019); Stell Environmental Enterprises Inc.,* Elverson, Pennsylvania (W9128F14-D-0020); Trieco Environmental JV,* Louisville, Kentucky (W9128F14-D-0021); Trinity Analysis and Development Corp.,* Shalimar, Florida (W9128F-14-D-0022); and PB&A/ECATS/Dial Cordy Joint Venture LLC,* Austin, Texas (W9128F-14-D-0029), were awarded a $60,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for environmental consulting services. These contracts include providing assistance to the government on environmental issues, such as the control of environmental contamination from pollutants, toxic substances and hazardous materials; identifying problems (e.g., inspect buildings for hazardous materials); measuring and evaluating risks; and recommending solutions. Funding and work location will be determined with each order with an estimated completion date of Aug. 7, 2019. Bids were solicited via the Internet with 22 received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha, Nebraska, is the contracting activity.

Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, Kongsberg, Norway, was awarded a $13,202,364 modification (P00069) to contract W15QKN-12-C-0103 for post-production conversion of Common Remotely Operated Weapons Systems M153A1 to Common Remotely Operated Weapons Systems M153. Other procurement funds for fiscal 2012 ($1,363,962), fiscal 2013 ($6,391,164) and fiscal 2014 ($5,447,238) were obligated at the time of the award. Estimated completion date is Aug. 16, 2017. Work will be performed at Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Army Contracting Command, Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, is the contracting activity.

NAVY

CACI Inc., Chantilly, Virginia, is being awarded a $7,399,219 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award contract with firm-fixed-price task orders for worldwide logistics service. Work will include support requirements for fleet logistics operations; enterprise-wide facilities and Global Shore Infrastructure Plan management; acquisition logistics; sustainment logistics; logistics systems and data management; Combat Logistics Force load management; ordnance management; and supply chain management. This contract includes four one-year options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $36,996,096. Work will be performed worldwide, and is expected to be completed by August 2015. If all options are exercised, work will continue through August 2019. Working capital contract funds in the amount of $7,500 will be obligated to cover the minimum guarantee of the contract, and will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. Contract funds will be obligated as future task orders are awarded. This contract was competitively procured with proposals solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with two offers received. The U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (N00033-14-D-6506).

Professional Analysis Inc., Washington, District of Columbia, is being awarded a $6,740,525 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award contract with firm-fixed-price task orders for worldwide logistics service. Work will include support requirements for fleet logistics operations; enterprise-wide facilities and Global Shore Infrastructure Plan management; acquisition logistics; sustainment logistics; logistics systems and data management; Combat Logistics Force load management; ordnance management; and supply chain management. This contract includes four one-year options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $33,702,624. Work will be performed worldwide, and is expected to be completed by August 2015. If all options are exercised, work will continue through August 2019. Working capital contract funds in the amount of $7,500 will be obligated to cover the minimum guarantee of the contract, and will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. Contract funds will be obligated as future task orders are awarded. This contract was competitively procured with proposals solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with two offers received. The U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (N00033-14-D-6505).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

BioUrja Trading LLC,* Houston, Texas, has been awarded a maximum $72,705,120 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for aviation turbine fuel. This contract was a competitive acquisition with eight offers received. This is a one-year base contract with a 30-day carryover and no option periods. Location of performance is Texas with an Oct. 30, 2015, performance completion date. Using service is Defense Logistics Agency Energy. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Virginia (SP0600-14-D-0500).

DNO Inc.,* Columbus, Ohio, has been awarded a maximum $18,974,716 modification (P00203) exercising the second option period on an 18-month base contract (SPM300-11-D-S101) with two 18-month option periods. This is a fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract to provide fresh fruit and vegetable support. Location of performance is Ohio with a Feb. 9, 2016, performance completion date. Using service is Department of Agriculture school customers. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 through fiscal 2015 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

US Foods Inc., Salem Division, Salem, Missouri, has been awarded a maximum $16,450,000 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract for prime vendor full-line food distribution. This contract was a sole-source acquisition. This is a bridge contract and will be in effect from Aug. 10, 2014, through Nov. 29, 2014. Locations of performance are Missouri and Kansas with a Nov. 29, 2014, performance completion date. Using services are Army, Air Force, and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 through fiscal 2015 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE300-14-D-3032).

US Foods Inc., North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, has been awarded a maximum $9,000,000 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract for prime vendor full-line food distribution. This contract was a competitive acquisition with two offers received. This is a two-year base contract with one one-year option and one two-year option periods. Location of performance is North Dakota with an Aug. 3, 2019, performance completion date. Using service is Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE300-14-D-3027).
*Small business

READOUT: PRESIDENT OBAMA'S CALL WITH KING ABDULLAH II OF JORDAN

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE 

Readout of the President’s Call with His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

President Obama spoke with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan today.  They discussed the urgency of providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq, the risks to the region from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and other extremist groups, and the importance of supporting an inclusive Iraqi political process.  The two leaders discussed the need for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a durable cease-fire in Gaza, as well as increased support to civilians in Gaza who have suffered tremendously during the conflict.  The President and King Abdullah II reaffirmed the strong friendship and strategic partnership between the United States and Jordan. 

SECRETARY KERRY'S REMARKS WITH AFGHAN OFFICIALS AFTER THEIR MEETING

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Remarks With Afghan Officials After Their Meeting
Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
UNAMA Special Representative Jan Kubis; Afghan Presidential Candidate Abdullah Abdullah; Afghan Presidential Candidate Ashraf Ghani
United Nations Assistance Mission
Kabul, Afghanistan
August 8, 2014

MR. ABDULLAH: Ladies and gentlemen, I am very pleased to inform our people at this very critical moment of our history that today myself, our teams, and Dr. Ashraf Ghani and his team – we are taking another step forward in the interests of start strengthening national unity in the country, strengthening the rule of law in the country, and also bringing a hope for the future – a better future for the people of Afghanistan.

Today’s joint statement is the result of efforts by both teams – Dr. Arshaf Ghani at the top of his own team and our own team work together. And we are also delighted to have the support of the international community here, and I would like to thank Secretary Kerry for his effort in supporting our joint efforts for the better future for Afghanistan, as well as Ambassador Kubis who has facilitated part of these efforts earlier.

As a result of today’s joint statement, which gives better hopes for the people of Afghanistan, we are committed to the audit process which is underway, and we will be cooperative in pursuing and pushing it in order to complete it, hopefully, at such a time that it will help Afghanistan also to attain its own international (inaudible), which are important for us. Legitimacy of the process will be restored as a result of this comprehensive internationally supervised audit.

In regards to the political agreement, once again, I reiterate that today was another step forward for the affirmation of both sides’ interests and commitment to the previous agreement – political framework agreement, and also further developing it and also moving forward in the implementation of it. So from now on, I hope that the atmosphere of campaigning is behind us, hopefully completely to a large extent, and then a new phase in the political life of the people of Afghanistan will start, and we are committed to working together on the basis of our common vision for the future of the country in order to utilize the opportunities which are ahead of us and to be able to deal with the challenges which we are faced with.

And we thank once again the commitment of the international partners, not only in support of our effort, which today’s event is another example, but also their reaffirmation, reaffirmation of their commitment, that a legitimate outcome of the elections will help them, enable them, to fulfill their commitments to all the people of Afghanistan, in support of the people of Afghanistan, in strengthening the rule of law, in helping the economy of the country, and helping security in Afghanistan and also the strengthening of our institutions.

So I would like to thank Secretary Kerry, Ambassador Kubis, but more than anything else, Dr. Ashraf Ghani, for his spirit of cooperation throughout the talks, and his colleagues. And hopefully from now on the people of Afghanistan will be witness to a new phase in the political life of the country.

Thank you.

MR. GHANI: Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to share with you as my dear colleague Dr. Abdullah has shared with you that he and I have reached agreement and signed a communique on defining our future cooperation. This communique reflects our sense of national obligation and our duty to put the interests of Afghanistan – every child, every woman, every man – above everything else.

The country cannot take uncertainty; uncertainty is a threat. Our action today and in following weeks should create an environment of certainty and trust. We trust each other. We will work with each other to fulfill this national duty and obligation to every Afghan.

The basis of our cooperation is defined by our mutual commitment to the constitution of Afghanistan. The constitution reflects our supreme values, because our constitution is a reflection of our Islamic values and national values and our sense of aspirations for being a society that we deserve. We therefore are committed to make sure that every article of the constitution acquires embodiment in practice in our relationships, our sense of reforms that every Afghan will proudly claim that she or he is a citizen of this country, and therefore enjoys equal rights and obligations.

Because of our commitments, previous commitments that, again, we thank Secretary Kerry for having facilitated, we’ve moved now to direct intra-Afghan discussions and obligations. We thank Secretary Kerry and, of course, Ambassador Kubis and all the international community for having performed a facilitating role. But we the leaders of the two teams, the candidates that the people of – the people – the two candidates that the people of Afghanistan voted for overwhelmingly bear the sole responsibility for peace, stability and democratic values in this country. And I hope that our commitment today honors back the commitment of our people who participated, braved all elements to ensure that democratic values were not just theoretical statements but actions of millions of individuals.

To honor those individuals, we have committed ourselves to one of the most comprehensive audits imaginable in history. And we affirm today again both our support for this process of audit and our commitment to abide by its results. But to underline our sense of unity of purpose, we are affirming that we will form a government of national unity to implement what we promised during the campaign.

What unites us is far greater than what divided us during the campaign, because each one of us and both of us are committed to the well-being of every Afghan child, every woman, every man – particularly the poor, the disabled, the displaced, those who cannot live in dignity and are in search of food on an everyday basis.

Political agreement, political consensus is key to coming out of a vicious circle to a virtuous circle. We live in a dangerous world and in a dangerous neighborhood, the Islamic world – countries that did not practice consensus and tolerance of each other or in full, in bringing unbelievable hardship to their people. We just need to recall Syria and Iraq today. Because of this we are determined that our beloved Afghanistan will be the first country that will start a virtuous circle of unity, reform commitment, and full tolerance.

We hope that by end of August the results of the audit will be completed and the next president of Afghanistan will be inaugurated, that Afghanistan takes its rightful place again in the community of nations and we bring an end to the sense of uncertainty. Our teams have started work in earnest to prepare work on transition, how to address the daily lives of our people, their daily concerns for food, for milk, for security, for well-being, but more than anything else, for a sense of certainty. So there will no longer be election crisis, the crisis of uncertainty. The crisis of uncertainty must end, and we hope that together we can achieve what the people of Afghanistan expect us to achieve.

I am honored again by the nature of the dialogues that I’ve had with my brother and colleague, Dr. Abdullah, and we will continue. Every dialogue does not mean that immediately we agree on everything, but it’s remarkable how much we agree on. So we have an enormous foundation to go forward, and today I was delighted that Dr. Abdullah and I, like in the past when he was foreign minister and I was finance minister, could complete each other’s sentences in front of Secretary Kerry. That I take as a very good omen.

And I’d like to thank Secretary Kerry for his selfless help, for facilitating the agreement, but for particularly understanding that a nation and its leaders need to find their own way to stability, independence.

We thank you, Mr. Secretary, for your stewardship of the global well-being and for being such a friend of our country. And we hope to be working with you – both of us – and we look very much forward to continuing working, Ambassador Kubis, with you and with the international community.

MR. ABDULLAH: Here I realize that Mr. Rohshad, which is a famous longtime journalist in Afghanistan which has covered Afghanistan for many, many years and Afghans are familiar with his voice, he lost several members of his family in a terrorist attack last week, just a few days ago. He’s here. I express my deepest condolences to him, to his family, and to the people of Afghanistan. And I pray that the (inaudible) of sadness and tragedy is out of Afghanistan and Afghanistan is not witness to such tragic incidents. I wish you strength in the wake of this – after this tragic event.

MR. GHANI: I’d like to also take this opportunity to express my deepest condolences to Secretary Kerry for the cowardly murder of General Greene and for the attack on our military academy. Our military academy is the pride of our cooperation with the international community, particularly with the United States, U.K., and other members of ISAF.

General Greene was an engineer, never participated in combat. He was here to help us build one of the finest schools of engineering within our military academy. This sad event again reminds us why we must redouble our efforts to create peace, security, prosperity, and stability, which all of us need. And we thank again the United States for its cooperation in this area, and again, please Mr. Secretary, we express our deepest sympathies to the members of your armed forces, to the President of the United States, and to the families of General Greene.

SECRETARY KERRY: As-salaam alaykum. Good afternoon. Before I say some words about the statements that you’ve just heard from Afghanistan’s future leaders – and I mean leaders plural – one of these men is going to be president, but both of these men are going to be critical to the future of Afghanistan no matter what. And to my right and left, you see their supporters here in great strength, all of them supporting the very eloquent, very precise, and very important statements that were made here today. And I will say more about that in a minute.

But first, I want to say a brief word about the situation in Iraq. President Obama acted expeditiously and appropriately to authorize targeted military action and to provide significant humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq at this very difficult time when it is vitally needed. The stakes for Iraq’s future could also not be more clear, and today’s crisis underscores them significantly. ISIL’s campaign of terror against the innocent, including the Yezedi and Christian minorities, and its grotesque targeted acts of violence show all the warning signs of genocide. For anyone who needed a wakeup call, this is it. ISIL is not fighting on behalf of Sunnis. ISIL is not fighting for a stronger Iraq. ISIL is fighting to divide and destroy Iraq, and it’s fighting to create a state of its own brutal oppression, a place where chaos and brutality – ruthless brutality – governs.

Now with a gut-wrenching humanitarian crisis unfolding before our eyes and the roles of the starving and the sick growing daily and the potential of further executions – cold blooded executions – taking place because people are a minority huddled for safety on a mountaintop – because of that the United States, with President Obama’s decision, has made its decision that it must save these lives, and the world needs to join us in a condemnation of ISIL’s actions. President Obama has been unequivocal that he will do what is necessary and what is in our national interest to confront ISIL and its threat to the security of the region and to our own security in the long run.

It has been equally clear, as I have said in each of my visits to Iraq, in all my conversations with Iraqi and with regional leaders, that the only durable way to stop ISIL is for Iraq’s leaders themselves to unite and form a government that represents all of the people as rapidly as possible within their constitutional framework. They have moved very effectively so far to elect a speaker, to elect a president, and now the next step is to provide a prime minister, and we urge them to do so quickly.

I want to emphasize that in the President’s decision the safety and security of the men and women serving overseas for the United States is also a fundamental consideration, and I will remain very closely engaged with our Ambassador Stephen Beecroft, with our Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk, and our team on the ground as we work to ensure that our personnel who are in Erbil and Baghdad and across Iraq are secure.

Now that brings me quickly back to here and Afghanistan and to this important moment. We all know the risks to our personnel and particularly the risks to Afghans every single day. Mr. Rohshad, our heart goes out to you and to your family. You are one of many who have suffered over the course of these 13 years. And I believe that the words today of these two leaders, Dr. Ghani and Dr. Abdullah – more importantly the actions of these two leaders today – to unite for Afghanistan, to bring themselves together in the interest of their country, to define an Afghan roadmap for the way ahead is a very important transitional moment for Afghanistan.

Now, obviously – and I appreciate enormously their words with respect to the shooting of U.S. Army Major General Harold Greene three days ago. I want to say to General Greene’s family that universally in my visit here the first words out of the mouth of every Afghan has been to say how sorry they are, how much they regret what happened to this general who was here helping the people of this country, and they express to America and particularly to his family their deepest condolences.

General Greene, for all those who met him – I did not have the privilege of meeting him, but I’ve heard about him, and I’ve heard about him from General Dunford when I was here in the last two days – was a soldier’s soldier, even though he wasn’t in combat. He knew his people, he knew what he stood for, and for three decades, he loyally served his country in the United States Army. He was a humble man, a quiet man, and he earned the respect of military leaders for his singular ability to display wisdom. He was a thinker and an innovator who earned a doctorate from the University of Southern California and who used new technologies in order to try to help the young recruits that he was trying to teach at this school. Above all, he was a family man and a loyal mentor of his community. One of his Army colleagues summed it up this way just by saying, “He was a good guy. Harry was loved.” So we wish his loved ones the strength and the compassion that they need in order to be able to mourn the loss of a special man and themselves find the comfort of the days ahead.

Now I came here today at the direction of the president that I work for, President Obama, to continue the work of General Greene and so many other brave men and women, Afghans and Americans and many others from many other countries, more than 50, who have come together under ISAF in order to work for the future of Afghanistan. These are all people who have dedicated their lives to building a stable, united, sovereign Afghanistan.

During my last visit here, we stood right here in this room after several days of very intensive negotiations, and both candidates took a very important step towards that goal of a sovereign, unified, stable Afghanistan. They shook hands – they raised them high right here in front of all the people of Afghanistan and the world – to express their enthusiasm for the agreement, which began to set forth the road ahead.

But during recent weeks, as is often the case, a number of questions arose, both about the technical aspects of the audit process as well as the political questions about the political road ahead. So today, I’m very pleased to join them in a different kind of moment. I’m here to support them and to commend them on their leadership, on their initiative to be able to come together and work through some of these difficult issues. And it’s been our privilege to be able to facilitate, but this is really an Afghan solution to an Afghan problem. And that’s very important for the road ahead.

We now have in place the largest audit that the United Nations has ever conducted in any country in history, the deepest audit that they have ever conducted. And that’s why we have a big man here to do the job. (Laughter.) Ambassador Kubis is really dedicated to this, and we have in place the ability with both parties now agreeing to the rules of the road. Both parties have agreed to stay at it and both parties have agreed to live by the outcome. And they have understood that the United Nations will pour even additional energy into the effort to make this happen as competently and as rapidly as is humanly possible.

But in addition to the candidates coming together to define the audit road ahead with clarity, they have also come together to define the political road ahead. And as you’ve heard them, they’ve just described to you the ways in which they are going to work together from this moment forward in order to change the dialogue, change the rhetoric, begin to map out the future, work towards the transition, begin to figure out how to fix the economy, how to move the country forward – all of those issues which people have been working for 13 years, but because of the nature of an election and a transition have been stalled for a period of time. So both candidates have defined a road to a unity government, and they will begin now to meet together and to map out that transition ahead.

I don’t think anybody here would doubt that this is a major step for the road ahead for Afghanistan. It is coming almost singularly because both of these candidates are transforming themselves now into the statesmen that will be required to be the president of the country. And they are both focused on Afghanistan, not on themselves. Their supporters, who are passionate in support of their candidate, as they should be, are shifting their focus to the future and to Afghanistan.

The United States and the United Nations and the international community are deeply engaged in the post-election process solely to help the Afghan election institutions restore credibility to the voting process. We want every vote that was legitimately cast to be honored appropriately, and both candidates have agreed that that is their goal.

I want to commend the dedication of ISAF, the UN, particularly the efforts of Jan Kubis and Jeff Fischer and the others, all the people who’ve come from other countries in order to help this. ISAF has delivered every single ballot box from everywhere in the country to here in Kabul, and they are currently under lock and key and under security and will remain so to preserve the integrity of the election outcome. The UN has brought in specialists from around the world, and dozens more are on the way even as we speak today.

And I urge now to all countries invested in the effort, who have been part of this journey over the last years, and to others who may not have signed up to ISAF but can care about the future of Afghanistan – we need more election experts to come here as rapidly as possible to help to finish this on time. Their job is to ensure that the audit meets the laws of Afghanistan, the highest international standards, and most importantly the expectations of the people of Afghanistan. And the Afghan Independent Election Commission, the UN, and dozens of international observers are going to work together, hand in hand, in order to try to provide the outcome that the people of Afghanistan expect.

So let me be clear – this audit is not about winning and losing. It’s about achieving the credible result that the people of Afghanistan demand and deserve. The audit is only one part of the challenge. Equally important, if not more important, will be the actions of these two candidates in the days ahead. Dr. Abdullah and Dr. Ghani and their campaigns have made a profound decision today about that future. They’ve agreed to continue to translate the political agreement that they’ve reached – that they have reached, that they have worked on, that they have defined, the Afghan approach. They have committed to continue, no matter who becomes president, in order to find a government that can help Afghanistan move forward.

I want to make clear that this agreement respects the Afghan constitution, which the United States of America strongly supports. It does not establish a parliamentary system, it doesn’t change the role of the president as head of government, but it does create a new position of the chief executive, who will help to manage and work together to bring people onto the same path and to create efficiency and modernity in the governance. The agreement is a critical opportunity for both candidates to do what they’ve just said, which is move beyond the campaign and into the process of governing.

It’s a pivotal moment for Afghanistan. The stakes are high. It will depend on them and the United Nations to help move this forward appropriately. And I think there are high expectations from the world. It is our hope, obviously, that when this job is done NATO partners would very much look forward to welcoming President Karzai’s successor with his unity government partner in Wales at the NATO summit in September so that we can all come together, embrace their vision, and begin to put in place the government that Afghanistan wants and deserves. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Ladies and gents, we now have time for roughly two questions. Please wait for the microphone. Is the microphone ready? No microphone? Okay, you may have to speak up in that case.

The first question, please. Rativ Nudi from TOLOnews. Rativ, yes. Please stand up. Speak up, please.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MODERATOR: Maybe not.

QUESTION: I would like to ask a question about the framework agreement. After (inaudible) Afghanistan (inaudible), there have been some arguments among – before the election campaigns, among both the candidates on the matter of the new government. As you say, (inaudible) change the (inaudible), and also it doesn’t change the responsibility of the president. But exactly, what would be the responsibilities of the (inaudible)?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, let me let the next president speak to that. (Laughter.)

MR. GHANI: (Off-mike.)

SECRETARY KERRY: I didn’t mean to create a news (inaudible), but go ahead.

MR. GHANI: Thank you for your question. We’re committed to giving this post specific functions and the work ahead of us is precisely definition, of course. But what I want to emphasize is not what is going to be in the decree. What I want to emphasize is our commitment to cooperation, to unity in all spheres of government, life, and responsibilities. A decree is a piece of paper if it is not embodied in a bed of impasses. So we will begin with the problem to which we will commit ourselves and then agree on the best division of labor that will enable (inaudible).

MR. ABDULLAH: Thank you. And in the same spirit that was mutually accepted that we work together towards the formation of national unity government in every eventuality, because there will not be two people with the same number of votes as a result of the audit. One will have more votes; one will have a little bit more – less votes. And then in order to help create, establish a sort of win-win situation not only for our two camps, but more importantly for the people of Afghanistan we have agreed on this mutual program. And there are some details attached to it. We are committed to work together to develop it further and our teams will start working on this, on the details of it, of a few days, leaving the outcome of the elections aside or what has happened in the past, but rather looking towards the future for the interest of the national unity of the government in the effectiveness and competence of future government of Afghanistan, with every eventuality which might come up as a result of the audit process.

QUESTION: Sir, can I --

MODERATOR: No. Sorry, folks, but we’re doing this in order. Sorry. We have --

QUESTION: I have two questions.

MODERATOR: -- very, very short time. Ladies and gents, we are very short for time. We have time for one more question, I’m sorry to say, just one more question. Please don’t stand up, but do speak up. Michael Gordon, New York Times.

QUESTION: I’ll speak up, can’t stand up. First, to Secretary Kerry: Secretary Kerry, last month you brokered an important agreement here which – for the audit of ballots and power-sharing arrangements. And no sooner did you leave than problems arose here in Kabul on carrying forward this agreement. Beyond the enunciation of these broad principles about the value of the unity government, were there any concrete accomplishments during your day and a half of talks here, any concrete agreement on specific items of how the unity government will be structured? And if so, what were they?

And a second question for Secretary Kerry: You just mentioned the situation in Iraq and how President Obama authorized targeted airstrikes to stop an ISIL advance on Erbil or Baghdad, but it would appear from the statements that are made by senior officials that the Obama Administration’s strategy is to contain the ISIL threat, not necessarily roll it back. If the Iraqis were to form a multi-sectarian government, would the Obama Administration be prepared to use air power to help the Iraqis retake Fallujah, Mosul, and these territories that are under ISIS control? And will the Obama Administration now send arms to the Kurds, as they’ve been asking for?

And next, I want to state a question to the candidates, Dr. Abdullah and Dr. Ghani. (Laughter.) Can you cite any --

MR. ABDULLAH: (Off-mike.) (Laughter.)

QUESTION: No, one question for you. Can you each state without equivocation that you are confident you can achieve the inauguration of a new president before the NATO summit? What concrete accomplishments can you state were achieved here over the last day and a half?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, let me begin, Michael, by first – I want to answer the question on the – and I’m only going to answer part of it, because I believe it’s up to the two candidates to articulate the accomplishments, not me. But I will say to you that within the agreement that they have put together, there are very specific set of agreements that they’ve laid down, and they should describe it. So yes, there are specific accomplishments.

Secondly, your judgment about very quickly it sort of began to fray after we were here is not actually accurate. I think both candidates will tell you that for several days – five or six days, a week – there was a sense of energy and enthusiasm and euphoria, and people felt like they had come together. But then there was a lack of clarity about some of the steps to be taken within the audit process itself, and there were a couple of questions about terminology regarding the political framework agreement. Those have now been worked through, both of them. And that’s what brings everybody back here with a greater clarity about the steps that we’ve taken. That is why both candidates are here today to say they are not asking for further criteria or changes, they have agreed to what has been laid down by Jan Kubis and the UN, and they’ve agreed on the process, they will stay with the process, and they will abide by the process. That’s an accomplishment.

With respect to Iraq, President Obama has made it clear initially that his immediate response is to the crisis of a minority group that has been chased up into a mountain, that has been threatened with extinction, told that they will be executed, and who are seeking refuge in a mountain where they are dying because of their exposure in the elements. So he is immediately responding to that need to provide humanitarian assistance and also, because of the advance of ISIL, to make it clear that American personnel who are at risk are going to be protected by the United States of America and that those strikes were authorized in the event that they begin to move in any direction, either towards those people on the mountain or towards personnel that may be in danger.

With respect to the formation of government in the future, the President has taken no option off the table. And there are current discussions taking place, and they will continue to take place with respect to those options.

MR. ABDULLAH: On the date, 31st of August, we are committed to work with a cooperative experts to achieve that goal and to make sure that we are there by the end of August, the audit process is completed, without sacrificing the credibility and legitimacy of the audit process, because that’s the goal. But the goal – the time is also very important because of our international commitments, and also more important because of the Afghan people’s expectation. They want to see an outcome. And from now on, I hope that the people of Afghanistan will be more hopeful, will have much better sense of certainty now that we have gone beyond talking about an agreement, a framework, but rather starting – started stepping in the road – on the road towards formation of national unity government whatever the outcome of the audit process was. And there is a joint statement attached to that, is that framework – political framework agreement, which is very clear, and it’s – the joint statement has elaborated the vision, common vision of both candidates, both teams towards the future of Afghanistan and also the (inaudible). Thank you.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MR. GHANI: Questions are over, I think.

PARTICIPANT: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MR. GHANI: First, we’ve brought clarity to the audit process in that it is going to end as soon as feasible. We are categorically committed to accepting the results of the audit and the date for the inauguration of the next president of Afghanistan. I hope that this date can become very firm within a week to ten days, pending on – but we do not want to commit ourselves to a fixed date today because that date will then drive the process and people will (inaudible). So our flexibility on this very issue is the cornerstone of our consensus, and this should be grasped as a very important process. We have committed that the audit process now is going to pick up speed. Yesterday we accomplished 720 boxes, which was a benchmark, and we hope that they can speed this up and credibly reach a higher level that, again, needs to be determined by our technical people.

On the political side, a concrete achievement is that now we’re seeking a comprehensive agreement in our own languages, in our own categories of reference, with full embodiment of the constitution as the cornerstone of everything we do, because questions ahead of us. We’ve put those ambiguities behind us. The constitutional framework is the cornerstone. The authorities of the president as defined in the constitution are going to be exercised. We are seeking a government of national unity on the basis of a common platform that is going to deliver the necessary reforms. I think these are very significant achievements, and most significantly of all, we are putting the past behind us, we’re looking to the future.

The communique is signed by us, by both of us, and it will be issued to you, because this is a community. The full agreement, as we described, is going to require immense amounts of work from our teams and from ourselves. We as the leaders have committed to intensive dialogue to be – to create a shared understanding of challenges and opportunities. And let me underline: Afghanistan is not just challenges. It is enormous (inaudible). And one of the most significant is that the next president of Afghanistan will have the full legitimacy that has come from an audited process that does not have any parallel anywhere. And a sense of commitment and maturity of the Afghan political elite that understands that solving the problems of our country cannot happen on the basis of the winner-take-all approach. Our mutual – the mutual acknowledgment of our dependence for the good of the country is an enormous accomplishment, and that’s the foundation on the basis of which we hope to build and continue. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Ladies --

QUESTION: (Inaudible) question.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) question.

MODERATOR: Ladies and gents, we are pushed for time. I’m sorry, but we are pushed for time, so --

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MODERATOR: The two candidates must leave, and Secretary Kerry as well. Sorry.

QUESTION: Do you think in Gaza it’s genocide? Would you use the two words genocide --

MODERATOR: We are pushed for time. Thank you very much for your attention and your patience, folks. Thank you very much, everyone.

DOD VIDEOS REGARDING TODAY'S AIRSTRIKES AGAINST ISIL IN IRAQ

DOD VIDEO:  U.S. AIRSTRIKES HIT ISIL TARGETS

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DOD VIDEO: GEN. KIRBY:  ISIL AIRSTRIKES NEEDED TO PROTECT U.S. PERSONNEL IN IRAQ

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STATE DEPARTMENT PRESS STATEMENT ON ANNIVERSARY OF ATTACKS ON EMBASSIES IN KENYA AND TANZANIA

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

Anniversary of Attacks in Kenya and Tanzania

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 7, 2014


Today marks the 16th anniversary of the cowardly terrorist attacks on the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, that killed over 200 and wounded thousands more. We commemorate those who were lost that day, honor the lives they lived, and extend our condolences to the loved ones they left behind.

Today’s anniversary is a somber reminder of the continued terrorist threat that we face on the African continent and around the world, and an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to partner with our allies to confront it. At the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit that concluded yesterday, the United States and leaders from across Africa confirmed our shared commitment to the continent’s security and recommitted our resolve to address threats—in East Africa and more broadly—so that we and our partners can enjoy peace and security.

MARINES TRAIN AT HIGH ANGLE SNIPER RANGE IN HAWAII

FROM:  U.S. MARINE CORPS
Aug 07, 2014


Camp Pendleton, Calif. - Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Reconnaissance Detachment, execute a high angle sniper range during their WESTPAC deployment on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, July 31, 2014. The 11th MEU and Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group are deploying as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious missions across the full range of military operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Evan R. White/Released) 

President Obama Makes a Statement on Iraq

7/7/14: White House Press Briefing

SECRETARY KERRY'S STATEMENT ON AUTHORIZATION OF TARGETED MILITARY ACTION AGAINST ISIL

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 7, 2014




President Obama has acted expeditiously and appropriately in authorizing targeted military action and providing significant humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq at this very difficult moment when it is vitally needed.

The stakes for Iraq’s future could not be clearer, and today’s crisis underscores the stakes profoundly. ISIL’s campaign of terror against the innocent, including Yezedi and Christian minorities, and its grotesque and targeted acts of violence bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide. For anyone who needed a wake-up call, this is it. ISIL is not fighting on behalf of Sunnis. ISIL is not fighting for a stronger Iraq. ISIL is fighting to divide and destroy Iraq – and ISIL is offering nothing to anyone except chaos, nihilism, and ruthless thuggery. With a gut-wrenching humanitarian crisis unfolding, and the rolls of the starving and sick growing daily, there’s not a minute to waste. The United States is acting and leading, and the world cannot sit by and watch innocents die. We will continue to coordinate with our allies in the region and the international community to assist Iraqis to confront ISIL’s brutal ideology which poses a severe threat to Iraq, the region, and the United States.

President Obama has been unequivocal that he will do what is necessary and what is in our national interest to confront ISIL and its threat to the security of the region and to our own long-term security. He has been equally clear, as I have on my visit to Iraq and in all my conversations with Iraqi and regional leaders, that the only durable way to stop ISIL is for Iraq’s real leaders to unite and form an inclusive government as rapidly as possible within their own constitutional framework, including the selection of a prime minister. Iraq’s leaders must confront the growing humanitarian and security crisis with the urgency that it demands. They must do so knowing that ISIL finds an inadvertent, unwitting ally in any delay in the political process inside Iraq. Only ISIL wins if Iraqi political leaders avoid making tough choices rapidly to tip the balance in favor of inclusive and effective governance.

The safety and security of our men and women serving overseas is fundamental. Every day we wrestle with difficult choices to keep our people safe. I will remain closely engaged with Ambassador Beecroft, Deputy Assistant Secretary McGurk, and our team on the ground as we work to ensure that our personnel in Erbil, Baghdad, and across Iraq are secure.

NASA VIDEO: GLENN AND PARTNERS STUDYING LAKE ERIE ALGAL BLOOM

CFTC ANNOUNCES $13 MILLION FINE TO BE PAID IN CRUDE OIL FUTURES MARKET MANIPULATION CASE

FROM:  U.S. COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION 
Federal Court Orders $13 Million Fine in CFTC Crude Oil Manipulation Action against Parnon Energy Inc., Arcadia Petroleum Ltd., and Arcadia Energy (Suisse) SA, and Crude Oil Traders James Dyer and Nicholas Wildgoose
Order Imposes Significant Physical Market Trading Limitations against Companies

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that it obtained a $13 million civil monetary penalty pursuant to a federal court consent Order against Defendants Parnon Energy Inc. (Parnon) of California, Arcadia Petroleum Ltd. (Arcadia Petroleum) of the United Kingdom, and Arcadia Energy (Suisse) SA (Arcadia Suisse) of Switzerland, and crude oil traders James T. Dyer of Australia and Nicholas J. Wildgoose of the United Kingdom.

The CFTC’s Complaint charged Defendants with manipulation and attempted manipulation of New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) Light Sweet Crude Oil futures contract spreads from January 2008 to April 2008 (see CFTC Press Release and Complaint 6041-11, May 24, 2011).

The consent Order, entered on August 4, 2014, by Judge William H. Pauley III of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, requires the Defendants to pay a $13 million civil monetary penalty, provides limitations on Parnon’s physical market trading for three years, and requires the companies to maintain records and audio recordings for three years. The Order further requires the companies to engage an independent consultant to evaluate compliance, internal control and risk management policies, procedures, and practices, and to implement any resulting recommendations.

“Through resolution of this litigation, the CFTC is holding accountable market participants who sought to profit by undermining the integrity of the U.S. crude oil markets,” commented CFTC Director of Enforcement Aitan Goelman. “The CFTC will continue to work to ensure the integrity of the markets we are responsible for protecting from manipulation, whether direct or indirect.”

The CFTC’s Complaint alleged that the Defendants, taking advantage of a tight physical market, executed a manipulative trading strategy designed to affect NYMEX crude oil futures contract spreads by knowingly amassing a dominant and controlling position in physical WTI crude oil, which is the primary grade of oil deliverable at Cushing, Oklahoma under the NYMEX futures contract; holding the physical position until after futures expiry with the intent to affect NYMEX crude oil spreads; and selling-off the physical position in a concentrated fashion during a time period known as the “cash window” at a loss. The Complaint further alleged that the Defendants sought to generate profits through their manipulative conduct by buying WTI futures spreads prior to widening the spreads through their manipulation and selling WTI futures spreads prior to dumping their physical WTI crude oil position. The Complaint also charged the Defendants with attempted manipulation of the May/June 2008 spread in April 2008. Defendants Dyer and Wildgoose allegedly directed the manipulative trading.

CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members primarily responsible for this case are Christine Ryall, Elizabeth Davis, Jonathan Robell, John Einstman, Melanie Devoe, Amanda Harding, Sophia Siddiqui, Luke Marsh, Saadeh Al-Jurf, George Malas, Tashieka Taylor, Maura Stavrakis, Joan Manley, and Paul Hayeck.

EXPORT-IMPORT BANK APPROVES RECORD FINANCING OF EXPORTS TO SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

FROM:  U.S. EXPORT-IMPORT BANK 
Ex-Im Bank Approves Record $1.7 Billion in Financing of U.S. Exports to Sub-Saharan Africa
$3 Billion in Financing Support Pledged for U.S. Exports Over the Next 2 Years

Washington, D.C. – The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) announced today that it has authorized a record $1.7 billion in financing to support U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa over the past 10 months. This record-setting surge has not only empowered U.S. small businesses to sell their products in global markets, but has also supported more than 10,000 American jobs which contribute to strengthening the U.S. economy.

The announcement was made as Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg participated in the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit convened by President Barack Obama this week in Washington D.C. The summit has drawn about 50 heads of state, ministers, and business leaders from across the African continent.

“Ex-Im Bank is firmly committed to equipping U.S. exporters to realize the vast economic opportunities emerging throughout sub-Saharan Africa, which is home to seven out of 10 of the world’s fastest-growing markets,” said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. “Each transaction the Bank supports creates jobs for local U.S. businesses and strengthens our relationship with a region that has a strong prospect for long-term economic growth.”

Ex-Im also announced that it will pledge $3 billion in financing to support U.S exports to sub-Saharan Africa over the next two fiscal years. The Bank also recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Angola to strengthen collaboration on the financing of American-made exports to Angola.

Recent Ex-Im Bank success stories in sub-Saharan Africa:

Ex-Im approved a loan guarantee for $17 million to support long-term financing by the West African Development Bank (BOAD) for the Azito Power project in Cote D’Ivoire. Two-thirds of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa lacks electricity; by strengthening their power capacity, however, their economies will be well-positioned for growth. Financing for steam turbines used in the Azito Power project will support 40 manufacturing and engineering jobs in Schenectady, New York, and Bangor, Maine.
Three Louisana small businesses benefit from Ex-Im’s $43 million financing of a liftboat destined for Nigeria. The “Bellator” liftboat is a self-propelled vessel, 150-foot long by 118-foot wide, that lifts and suspends equipment and personnel up to the level of an offshore drilling platform. About 300 employees of C.S. Liftboats, Inc., of Abbeville, Louisiana, together with Gulf Island Fabrications of Houma, Louisiana, will construct the high-tech vessel. The Nigerian buyer also contracted for prefabricated liftboat-mounted modules for housing workers; these are built by Fiberglass Unlimited Inc. of Raceland, Louisiana. This is Nigeria’s first purchase of a new, American-made liftboat system.

Pennsylvania employees of GE Transportation will benefit from the Bank-supported export of GE’s locomotives with Pennsylvania-made engines and components to Transnet in South Africa. 
In its recent transaction, Ex-Im Bank authorized a $563.5 million loan guarantee to support financing for the sale of 293 locomotives being manufactured by GE Transportation, which will support an estimated 2,500 U.S. jobs.


REMARKS BY SECRETARY KERRY AND TUNISIAN FOREIGN MINISTER HAMDI

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

Remarks With Tunisian Foreign Minister Mongi Hamdi Before Their Meeting

Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
August 4, 2014


SECRETARY KERRY: Good afternoon. Very happy to welcome my friend, the foreign minister of Tunisia, Foreign Minister Hamdi. He and I have had long discussions already, and we agreed earlier in my visit to Tunisia and in our previous conversations to launch a U.S.-Tunisia security dialogue in advance of our interests with respect to a secure and stable and prosperous Tunisia and stability in the region.

The foreign minister has just talked to me about the dangers of what is happening in Libya, and he is particularly concerned about extremism that is creating a failed state there and the challenges that it presents in terms of security on their border. So we have a lot to talk about here.

Tunisia really remains a beacon of hope, and we are very grateful to Tunisia, particularly in the last days, as we decided for safety and security reasons only to temporarily move personnel from Tripoli in Libya to Tunisia, and the Tunisian Government was extremely helpful to us in that and we’re very grateful to them. But perhaps more importantly in the long run, Tunisia is the beacon of hope because it is going through a transition to democracy, and it is holding the line. It has been successful against tough challenges, but it needs help.

There is the threat always of foreign fighters coming back from Syria to create trouble internally in the country, and the United States is deeply committed to supporting Tunisia as it works through to build its own foundations for success in the future, and we intend to work with them.
So Mr. Foreign Minister, I’m happy to welcome you here. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER HAMDI: Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary of State. We are grateful to this opportunity to meet with you here to talk a little bit about the situation in Tunisia and in neighboring Libya. We are determined to deepen our relationship with the United States. Our relation with the U.S. has always been extremely good, and we want it to be, at this particular juncture of our history, a strategic one – a strategic one. We all believe in peace. We all believe in no extremism. Extremism and terror has no place in Tunisia, and we are determined to fight it. And we are reaching out to our friends and partners to assist us in times of need, and these are the times of need for Tunisia – to assist us particularly to secure our borders against – to safeguard our borders against those people who do not wish Tunisia to be a stable country, for those people who want to see instability in Tunisia and the rest of the country.

As you said, Mr. Secretary of State, Tunisia is the only – or one of the beacons of hope in that region, and if Tunisia fails, I think the whole region will not be secure. And it is in the interest of everyone that Tunisia succeeds its transition. We are at the last phase of our democratic transition, and we want to succeed. We are determined to succeed, and it’s in the interest for everyone to see Tunisia succeed, to see Tunisia a success story for the region, because if Tunisia does not succeed, the aspirations of hundreds of millions of people will go down the drain for democracy and freedom. Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, Mongi. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER HAMDI: Thanks.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thanks, my friend. Thank you very much. Thank you. Let’s go meet with our gang. All right. Thank you.

WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY FOR ROLE IN ETHIOPIAN ADOPTION FRAUD SCHEME

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Manager of Adoption Agency Pleads Guilty to Ethiopian Adoption Fraud Scheme

A former foreign program director of International Adoption Guides Inc. (IAG), an adoption agency, pleaded guilty today to conspiring with others to defraud the United States by paying bribes to foreign officials and submitting fraudulent documents to the State Department for adoptions from Ethiopia.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney William N. Nettles for the District of South Carolina made the announcement.   The guilty plea was entered by U.S. District Court Judge Sol Blatt Jr. of the District of South Carolina.

Alisa Bivens, 42, admitted as part of her plea that she and her co-conspirators submitted fraudulent documents to the State Department to facilitate adoptions of Ethiopian children by U.S. parents from 2006 until 2009.  In support of U.S. visa applications for the Ethiopian children, Bivens and others submitted false documentation, including contracts of adoption signed by orphanages that could not properly give the children up for adoption because, for example, the child in question was never cared for or never resided at the orphanage.

In entering her guilty plea, Bivens also admitted that she and others paid bribes to two Ethiopian officials so that those officials would help with the fraudulent adoptions.   The first of these two foreign officials, an audiologist and teacher at a government school, accepted money and other valuables in exchange for providing non-public medical information and social history information for potential adoptees to the conspirators.   The second foreign official, the head of a regional ministry for women’s and children’s affairs, received money and all-expenses-paid travel in exchange for approving IAG’s applications for intercountry adoptions and for ignoring IAG’s failure to maintain a properly licensed adoption facility.   Sentencing for Bivens will be scheduled at a later date.

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.   The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney John W. Borchert of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamie Lea Schoen for the District of South Carolina.