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Campaign Press Release 11 September 2013

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
September 11, 2013

Principal Contact (Global Campaign against IEDs):

Robert C. Morris, Jr.
Phone (U.S): (757) 869-6770
FAX: (U.S.): (270) 477-7087
Email: bob.morris@partners-international.org
Website: www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org

 

Boston Bombing Victim Calls on Congress to Act against Improvised Explosive Devices

 

Calls on Congress to Condemn the Use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Resolve the gap in Information Sharing Between Government Agencies and the Private Sector to help IED Victims

 

Washington, D.C. – On the anniversary of the September 11th attacks, a victim of the Boston Marathon IED attack is calling on Congress to take actions that will work to reduce the proliferation of these indiscriminate weapons and help victims of IED attacks.

On April 15, 2013, Dr. Joanna Leigh. witnessed the first explosion at the Boston Marathon and ran to help. Suddenly, less than 10 feet in front of her the second IED detonated throwing her back and onto the ground unconscious. She awoke to her legs being trampled in the chaos that followed the attack. Rising shakily to her feet, Dr. Leigh, saw an old man covered in blood staggering toward her, half collapsed, his hand/arm flayed open. She held him up and brought him to a safe area to provide aid. She continued to help treat the wounded and load them into ambulances, never seeking medical attention for herself. It was only many weeks after the attack that she understood how badly she was hurt.

Dr. Leigh was later diagnosed with severe closed Traumatic Brain Injury , significant vision loss, 50 percent hearing loss and other blast-related conditions. She lost portions of her ability to hear, see, taste, smell, remember, find things, organize, plan, speak properly, find her way, navigate a supermarket, drive, do a load of laundry cook, etc. She is unable to read or work at her computer or see her phone because her eyes are too blurry, yet she lacks the funds to buy a larger screen or speech-to-text technology. “I regularly become lost and terrified half a block from my house,” says Dr. Leigh. “not even knowing what city I am in, how I got there, or how to get home, and I have forgotten the password on my phone so I cannot call anybody.

Leigh has been directed not to work for 2 years in order to allow her brain to heal, yet because she did not lose any limbs and was not immediately hospitalized after the Boston attack, she received only $8,000 from the One Fund set up to support the Boston Marathon victims while amputees received $1.2M. and those immediately hospitalized received from $125, 000 to $984,300.

In a letter to Members of Congress Dr. Leigh is calling on them to act against IEDs and support all victims of these attacks by supporting House Resolution 190 previously introduced by Representative Richards Hanna (R-NY).

“As a victim whose life was forever changed by the Boston IED attack, I call on all Members of Congress to expeditiously pass House Resolution 190 that you sponsored to answer this call. There is no legitimate reason not to support and expedite this important legislation.” Says Dr. Leigh.

According to COL (Ret) Bob Morris of the Global Campaign against IEDs, “This lack of information-sharing also hampered development of One Fund compensation criteria. For example, the Department of Defense’s Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) uses millions of its $1B(+) annual budget on IED event data and blast-trauma research. It does not adequately share the results of these efforts with other agencies or the private sector. Consequently many are not aware of the data and issues addressed by these research findings.”

Morris also praises Leigh’s continued efforts to help all IED victims.

“On this, the anniversary of September 11th”, says Morris, “Dr. Leigh’s call to action is especially timely. The planes used in the September 11th attacks were the largest IEDs ever built, and besides the well known attacks from Oklahoma City to the Boston Marathon, in just the period from 4- 26 August there were IED events in 20 U.S. States including 16 bomb threats; 8 components and devices discovered; and 18 detonations. None of these were terrorist attacks. The U.S. deals with IED events of all sizes every day. Dr. Leigh’s call to action is both timely and courageous.”

According to the Global Campaign, Dr. Leigh’s injuries are common for IED blast victims and are seen in large numbers among active duty military and veterans. The top four IED related injuries are hearing loss, TBI, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and vision loss. Over 84% of U.S. military combat injuries in Afghanistan and Iraq are due to IEDs including 249,480 with hearing loss; 222,600 TBIs, 210,202 experiencing PTSD; and 110,022 with vision impairments. There have been only total 1,715 amputations. 34% of these IED victims suffer from both hearing and vision loss and 75% of TBI victims have visual dysfunctions.

“Percentages may be higher for Boston victims,” says Morris “because they lacked military protective equipment.”

In the conclusion of her letter to Congress, Dr. Leigh wrote: “I trust you will stand with me as not only a proud citizen who asks what you can do for your country, but as a public representative imbued with the obligation to serve with honor and passion. The information sharing, support to the public safety sector, and actions to help our veterans called for in H. Res. 190 and other actions by the Global Campaign must be supported and I respectfully call on you to do so.”

House Resolution 190, currently before Congress, specifically condemns the Boston attack and calls for needed support for members of the Public Safety Sector who deal with IEDs in the Homeland as well as calls upon the U.S. Department of Defense to begin sharing the blast-trauma related research and other IED event data it has. Though her letter, Dr. Leigh joins the Blinded Veterans Association, AMVETs, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Rolling Thunder, Firefighters, and others in the call to action and specific support for H. Res. 190.

To date, 42 Members have chosen to co-sponsor this resolution — none from Massachusetts.

“The tragic events in Boston should not surprise anyone,” stated Morris. “There are many who sounded warnings last year on the threat and continue doing so to this day. It is time to recognize this threat and come together against it rather than continuing to operate in “stovepipes”.

Those wishing to support the Global Campaign against IEDs can visit its website at www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org.

Full text of Dr. Leigh’s letter, Contact Information for Interviews, a fact sheet on Boston IED victims’ injuries, and other information is immediately available for download at: [ www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org/press-pack-3.pdf ].

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Press & Media

Campaign Press Release 17 Dec 2012

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
December 17, 2012

Principal Contact (Global Campaign against IEDs):

Robert C. Morris, Jr.
Phone (U.S): (757) 869-6770
FAX: (U.S.): (270) 477-7087
Email: bob.morris@partners-international.org
Website: www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org

 

Administration Agencies Remain Silent on Gallegly’s Request for a More Complete Response on Improvised Explosive Devices and Related Veteran’s Issues

 

On behalf of the 92 members of Congress who signed a letter to President Obama on Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Veteran’s Issues, Congressman Elton Gallegly(R-CA) rejects the response received as “inadequate”

 

Washington, D.C. – On behalf of the ninety-two membersof the U.S. House of Representatives who sent a May 3, 2012 bi-partisan letter to President Obama calling for a unified U.S. strategy and international actionagainst Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Representative Elton Gallegly (R-CA) called the Administration’s response “inadequate” and requested that they submit a more complete one

Pointing out that the response received only “covers in general terms all that was done and is currently being done” Congressman Gallegly noted that he and his colleagues were already well aware of those actions.

The undated response “on behalf of the President” received by Gallegly’s office was not printed on any official letterhead and was signed by Michael A. Sheehan, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict and Robert A. Blecksmith, Assistant Director, FBI Critical Incident Response Group.

Speaking for the Global Campaign against Improvised Explosive Devices, the group spearheading a global effort against IEDs, COL (Ret) Bob Morris stated: “It is difficult to tell from the letter if the President actually received it. Also, its lack of a date and not being transmitted on official stationary creates the appearance it was a draft someone decided to just send out.”

Morris agrees with Gallegly’s rejection of the response on behalf of the 92 Members because it provides “no new details of how you will close the gaps we identified.”

Accord to Gallegly’s letter, the response failed to address several key requests by the 92 members including: 1) that President designate a Lead Federal Agency to develop a U.S. Government strategy that coordinates and shares IED event data and other information with the Global Campaign against IEDs; 2) the President direct the Department of State to introduce a resolution at the United Nations condemning the use of IEDs, international standards dealing with IED precursor materials, and calling for international cooperation in prosecuting IED users under international rule of law; 3) the Department of Veterans Affairs develop a U.S. Government strategy partnered with Veterans Service Organizations, Military Service Organizations, and other public-private partners to identify the long term physical and psycho-social effects of IED related injuries.

Congressman Gallegly also noted that while the Administration’s response stated the existence of a revised U.S. Policy on IEDs, it did not provide the policy, address how new actions would be accomplished, or identify the lead agency coordinating the Policy. Although the Sheehan – Blecksmith letter stated that the government is “working with multilateral organizations and with private sector partners to advance awareness of the lED threat and enhance our collective counter-IED knowledge and capabilities,” it did not identify the agency tasked to lead that strategy across all U.S. government agencies. It also failed to address such key partners as the Joint IED Defeat Organization(JIEDDO), National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC); and did not adequately detail how the information sharing requested by the Members of Congress will be accomplished.

“With the recent criticism by the Department of Defense and Department of State in both Senate and House hearings that countries such as Pakistan are not adequately sharing information; providing and implementing their policies; and fully addressing the IED issue as part of needed global action against this threat, the inadequacy of the Administration’s response to the House Letter is troubling,” says Morris.

Congressman Gallegly’s request for a complete response was delivered to the Department of Defense and the Federal Bureau of Investigation on November 14, 2012. According to the Global Campaign against IEDs, those agencies have yet to provide any further response to Congress’s letter or even acknowledge its receipt.

Those wishing to support the Global Campaign against IEDs can visit its website at www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org.

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Campaign Update 14 November 2012

Congressman Gellegly (R-CA) rejects response to Congressional Letter to President Obama on IEDs and Veterans – On behalf of the 92 bi-partisan members of the House of Representatives, Congressman Elton Gallegly rejected as “inadequate” the response received from Michael A. Sheehan, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict” and Robert A. Blecksmith, Assistant Director, FBI Critical Incident Response Group. In his November 14, 2012 letter back to the agencies, Congressman Gallegly cited numerous omissions in the letter received and requested a “complete response.”

Gallegly Letter (pdf)

Sheehan-Blecksmith Letter (pdf)

The House Letter to President Obama (pdf)

More information about the House of Representatives Letter to President Obama.

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Campaign Update 15 October 2012

Response to Congressional Letter to President Obama has been received – Responding on behalf of President Obama, Michael A. Sheehan, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict” and Robert A. Blecksmith, Assistant Director, FBI Critical Incident Response Group replied to the letter from 92 Members of Congress to President Obama that called for for a unified U.S. strategy and international action against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) as well as steps to support veterans who were victims of IEDs. The undated letter on plain paper failed to address the majority of the issues covered in the Member’s Letter including: designation of a Lead Federal Agency to develop a U.S. Government strategy that coordinates and shares IED event data and other information with the Global Campaign against IEDs; introduction of a United Nations resolution condemning the use of IEDs and calling for international cooperation in prosecuting IED users under international rule of law; and a U.S. Government strategy partnered with Veterans Service Organizations, Military Service Organizations, and other public-private partners to identify the long term physical and psycho-social effects of IED related injuries.

Sheehan-Blecksmith Letter (pdf)

The House Letter to President Obama (pdf)

More information about the House of Representatives Letter to President Obama.

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Campaign Update 01 June 2012

Signatories on IED and Veterans’ Letter to President Obama reaches 92 – June 1, 2012 -Twenty-Five more members of the U.S. House of Representatives  today join their colleagues in sending a letter to President Obama calling for a unified U.S. strategy and international action against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).  Organizers hope more will join the call. The action follows the recent serious Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula plot to bomb a U.S. –bound airliner with updated and difficult to detect Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) concealed in underwear.

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Campaign Update 11 May 2012

Signatories on Letter to President Obama reaches 69 – May 11, 2012 – Sixty-nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives  today sent a letter to President Obama calling for a unified U.S. strategy and international action against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).  Organizers hope others will join the call. The action follows this week’s leak of a serious new Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula plot to bomb a U.S. –bound airliner with updated and difficult to detect Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) concealed in underwear.

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Campaign Update 25 April 2012

42 Members of Congress sign letter to President Obama on IEDs – Forty-two members of the U.S. House of Representatives have  signed a letter to President Obama calling for a unified U.S. strategy and international action against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).  Organizers hope others will join the call. The letter calls for President Obama to work with Congress and global governments to address critical gaps in the humanitarian response to IEDs, strengthen application of the rule of law, and eliminate serious deficiencies in public-private information sharing. The significant bi-partisan support now includes representatives from key House committees including: Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, Homeland Security, Veteran’s Affairs, Appropriations, Ways and Means, Judiciary, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Small Business, Oversight and Government Reform, Education and Workforce, Transportation and Infrastructure, Joint Committee on Taxation, Budget, Agriculture and Natural Resources. The response underscores the true bipartisan nature of the issue.

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Campaign Update 22 Mar 2012

An archive of previous updates can be found at

http://www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org/campaign-blog.html ]

 

This week has seen us gather a great deal more support for the Letter from Members of Congress to President Obama on IEDs and other areas of the Global Campaign against IEDs. As of Monday, March 19, 2012 the list we have from Representative Gallegly’s Office includes 15 signatories for the letter.

Many more House and Senate continue to Staff it and express interest in joining this impressive, diverse bi-partisan group.

Signatories now include representatives from key house committees including: Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, Homeland Security, Veteran´s Affairs, Ways and Means, Judiciary, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Small Business, Oversight and Government Reform, Education and Workforce, Transportation and Infrastructure, Budget, Agriculture and Natural Resources. The response underscores the true bi-partisan nature of this effort and what all Members should lend their voice to standing against IEDs.

 

The “Dear Colleagues” letter was circulated again on March 19th, and we will continue to collect signatures at least until March 30th.

 

The Ambassadors from Germany and Norway will now provide representatives to our initial session in Washington on April 3, 2012. Germany is reaching out to other embassies to endorse the event and promote attendance.

 

We have several opportunities to attend our sessions at GovSec 2012 April 3-4 in Washington, D.C.  The Global Campaign against IEDs will host two panels at the event:

The Global IED Epidemic: Much More than Just a Military Problem (April 3, 2012: Time: 3:15PM – 4:15PM). Panel Members include:

  • Gerald Gahima – Former Chief Justice of the Rwanda Supreme Court and key figure in stopping the 1980 Rwanda Genocide.
  • BG(P) Austin Miller – Deputy Director, Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO)
  • COL (Ret) Bob Morris (Moderator) – Global Campaign against IEDs
  • Jim Young – Google

The Power of Social Media in Combating Terrorism (April 4, 2012: Time: 1:00PM – 2:00PM).  Panel Members Include:

  • Gerald Gahima – Former Chief Justice of the Rwanda Supreme Court and key figure in stopping the 1980 Rwanda Genocide.
  • LTG (Ret) Francis H. Kearney, III – Former Deputy Director, Strategic Operations Planning at the National Counter-Terrorism Center
  • COL (Ret) Bob Morris (Moderator) – Global Campaign against IEDs
  • Chief of Police (Ret) David Peck – Former Chief of Police, Fairfield, Connecticut
  • Steve Ressler – Founder, GovLoop
  • Jim Young – Google

Although the Global Campaign against IEDs and Partners International foundation as neutral parties and non-profit entities are not affiliated with GovSec, its organizers, or vendors in any way, GovSec has agreed to support the Global campaign´s work through in-kind donations.

If you wish to attend, you have several options:

  • FREE Events only (does not include the two IED Panels): Register through the GovSec website using the Promotion Code: EXPO02
  • FREE events and our IED panels: Register through the GovSec website using the Promotion Code:  EXPO02  when you register AND notify us by email at partners@partners-international.org so we can add your name to the access roster.
  • ALL GovSec Events: Register through the GovSec website using the Promotion Code:  CONF21 to receive a 10% discount.
  • Invitation only event: contact me directly by email.
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Campaign Update 16 Mar 2012

An archive of previous updates can be found at

http://www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org/campaign-blog.html ]

 

We continue to make progress in several areas.

First, the response to our request for signatories on the letter to President Obama on IEDs continues to be very promising. In just the last week we have three new signatories:

This expands the committees represented to include: Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, Veteran’s Affairs, Ways and Means, Judiciary, Small Business, Oversight and Government Reform, Education and Workforce, Transportation and Infrastructure, Budget, Agriculture and Natural Resources. The response underscores the true bi-partisan nature of this effort and what all Members should lend their voice to standing against IEDs.

We continue to receive quite a few inquiries from House and Senate offices with interest and are very encouraged in regard to obtaining more signatories in the near future. In response to the interest we’ve extended the date to receive signatures until March 30, 2012.

I hope you will continue to advocate with Congressional offices for additional signatures as may be appropriate.

In one extremely positive and significant development, on March 13, 2012 Congressman Gallegly’s Office began circulating formal “Dear Colleagues” correspondence requesting signatures on the letter and that he will continue to circulate it until March 30, 2012 to collect signatures.

In our international engagements the Ambassador from Norway is requesting to provide a representative to our initial session in Washington on April 3, 2012. Currently we are exploring interest for a session with Veteran’s Service Organizations (VSOs).

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Campaign Update 4 Mar 2012

In order to promote complete transparency of our actions, these updates will list organizations, companies, offices, and persons with which we have substantive interactions. These interactions do not represent formal endorsement of the Global Campaign against IEDs by these entities. Formal endorsements will be posted separately on our website as they are received.

 

An archive of previous updates can be found at

http://www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org/campaign-blog.html ]

 

First, the response to our request for signatories on the letter to President Obama on IEDs is very promising. In just the short time the letter has been available for signature in Congressman Gallegly’s office, we already have commitments from Members representing the House Foreign Affairs Committee; House Ways and Means; House Armed Services Committee; House Veteran’s Affairs, and others.

Since hard copies of the requests were hand carried to each Member of the Senate and the House of Representatives as well as electronic copies distributed to all House and Senate Chiefs of Staff, quite a few House and Senate offices have shown interest and contacted Representative Gallegly’s office. We are very encouraged regarding obtaining more signatories in the near future and hope other in the House and Senate will join as  signatories.

Next, Rolling Thunder has joined the growing list of Veteran’s Organizations to endorse the Global Campaign against IEDs and committed to being a signatory on a VSO President’s letter to President Obama and Congress as well.

In addition, Brigadier General (P) Austin Miller, Deputy Director of the Department of Defense’s Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) will join our panel at GovSec On April 3, 2012 entitled: The Global IED Epidemic: Much More than A military Problem. If you wish to attend I’ll be happy to provide the details.

In our outreach we contacted Ambassadors of over 20 Foreign Governments in the United States as well as key members of the Nigeria Government with requests to meet regarding the Global Campaign and move toward the world’s first Global IED summit.

With assistance from The Graffiti of War Project as one of our Global Campaign partners, a combat veteran in their program designed what now has become the official logo (shown below) of the Global Campaign against IEDs.  We’re honored to have the symbol of this global effort designed by a member of a project helping our wounded warriors.