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Press & Media

Campaign Press Release 1 May 2013

JOINT PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
May 1, 2013

UPDATE (21 July 2013): 42 Representatives have now agreed to co-sponsor H. Res. 190.  In addition the Global Campaign has new endorsements from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Rolling Thunder, Inc., and the St. Louis Fire Department.

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

Press Packet and Contacts for Media Interviews at:
http://www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org/press-pack-4.pdf ]

 

Ground Breaking Congressional Action Condemns Improvised Explosive Devices and the Boston Marathon Bombing

House Resolution 190 condemning the IED attack at the Boston Marathon calls for unified international action against IEDs and makes the U.S. the first country to renounce those devices. 

Washington, D.C. –Representative Richard Hanna (R-NY) has introduced a bill to set the United States on the path to being the leader in reducing the global threat from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) such as those used in the Boston Marathon Bombing.

House Resolution (H. Res) 190 formally condemns the April 15, 2013, IED attack in Boston, Massachusetts and calls upon the United States Government, the governments of all nations, the United Nations, and other international organizations to renounce the use of IEDs, as well as take actions to stop their proliferation and control the trafficking of IED production techniques.

COL (Ret) Bob Morris, of the Global Campaign against IEDs calls H. Res 190 ground breaking and historic.

“This culminates over two years of hard work by the participating organizations and others in the Global Campaign. The U.S. will become the first nation to formally condemn IEDs and call for unified holistic action against them by the Global Community. That will put the needed pressure on other countries and international organizations to take action against this threat and not sit idly by.”

While expressing condolences to the families of those who lost their lives or were injured in the Boston Marathon Bombing, the proposed Resolution “unequivocally condemns the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)”; calls for the full prosecution of those responsible for the IED terrorist attack in Boston; and praises the active duty service members, first responders, and others who face the threat of IEDs and put their lives on the line to defeat them.

“What makes this Resolution particularly important is that it is ‘actionable’” says Morris, “It calls for concrete, reasonable actions by all parties beyond the traditional military focus.” These include international action against IEDs; trafficking in IED components and techniques; support to IED victims; and sharing IED related event and blast-trauma information.

Other actions Morris points to in the Resolution include: calling on all relevant agencies of the United States Government to coordinate with international partners and other responsible entities to reduce the use of IEDs and curb their proliferation; governments of all nations, the United Nations, and other international organizations, to formally renounce IEDs and assist in securing and monitoring IED components and techniques.

According to the Global Campaign against IEDs, the IED is the weapon of choice for armed groups who seek to achieve their goals through violence. There are over 500 IED events per month globally if thwarted attempts are counted according to the Department of Defense’s Joint IED Defeat Organization. In cases where IED incidents occurred in populated areas, 90% of reported casualties were civilians. These numbers point to a global epidemic of IED use.

Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) strongly support H. Res 190 and its call for all relevant agencies of the U.S. Government to support the care of active duty servicemembers, veterans, and first responders who are victims of IEDs by facilitating the exchange of blast trauma research data among law enforcement agencies, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Congressionally chartered Veterans Service Organizations, and other responsible entities.

IED attacks are the leading cause of casualties and injuries for American servicemembers and are anticipated to remain the leading cause of such casualties for the foreseeable future;

“The Blinded Veterans Association fully supports H. Res. 190 and Congressman Hanna for his leadership on this effort.” Stated Thomas Zampieri, Director Government Relations. “While the vast majority of our wounded warriors in Iraq and Afghanistan come from IED blasts that cause both visible and invisible injuries, the IED event in Boston demonstrates that every country is now at high risk of these weapons being used on civilians and First Responders are at high risk” Zampieri said, “We must share blast related defense medical research between federal agencies to facilitate improved care and management of those wounded by IED’s.”

Lieutenant General (Ret.) Frank Kearney, former Deputy Director, Strategic Operational Planning at the National Counter-Terrorism Center in Washington DC and former Deputy Commander of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) states “H. Res. 190 is a long overdue and much needed piece of legislation for its support to veterans, servicemembers, first responders and civilian victims of IEDs. More importantly,” says Kearney. “Its condemnation of IEDs and call for specific actions that will have a positive impact in reducing the proliferation of these devices by all nations sends a very clear message and a challenge to all nations to take responsibility for the solution. It should be pushed through the various Committees and approved by the House without delay.”

“AMVETS applauds the initiative of the Global Campaign against Improvised Explosive Devices, and the leadership of Representative Hanna in bringing the critical issue of IEDs to the forefront of our national political discourse,” said AMVETS National Commander Cleve Geer. “With H. Res.190, Congress has the opportunity to curb the use of the signature weapon of terrorists around the world and to spare countless lives, military and civilian.”

H. Res. 190 advances a previous call by a group of 92 Members of the House of Representatives in their May 3, 2012 Letter to President Obama urging the U.S. to develop a strategy partnered with the Global Campaign, 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; share findings and best practices with appropriate agencies and the private sector; and ensure adequate programs and benefits are available to affected veterans and their care-givers. Such findings will directly support treatment of civilians injured in the Boston IED attack. The Group is awaiting a full response.

Morris credits Representative Hanna for building support for this important legislation: “Simply put, if Congressman Hanna and his staff had not taken the initiative to lead in offering this Resolution, nothing would have happened.” Morris added: “Great credit is owed to all Members of Congress who will now come forward to take the lead on this important issue”, says Morris. “In this Resolution Members of Congress have a simple and easy choice to condemn IEDs; events such as 9/11 and Boston; and take action; or to decline to do so. IEDs are not a partisan issue. They, and the impact on veterans, servicemembers, and innocent civilians are a National issue.”

“Improvised Explosive Devices are the leading cause of injuries for American men and women in the military, and one can look to the Boston Marathon bombings to see the damage these weapons can cause to civilians,” Rep. Hanna said. “It is my hope that people all over the world will join in condemning the manufacture and use of IEDs to cause harm, inflict pain and promote terror.”

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

Categories
Press & Media

Global Campaign Writes Op-Ed for breakingdefense.com

The Global Campaign has written an op-ed for breakingdefense.com.  It appeared on 10 May 2013 on the home page of their website.  The permenent link is [ http://breakingdefense.com/2013/05/10/why-congress-should-condemn-improvised-explosive-devices-ieds/ ].

Categories
Press & Media

Global Campaign Quoted in Ottawa Citizen Blog

The Global Campaign was quoted in the Ottawa Citizen Defence Watch Blog on 11 May 2013.  The permenent link is [ http://blogs.ottawacitizen.com/2013/05/11/500-ied-events-occur-each-month-worldwide-not-counting-afghanistan-and-iraq-says-group/ ].

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Press & Media

Campaign Press Release 23 March 2014

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
March 23, 2014

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
T
witter: @StopIEDs

 

Americans Call on Congress to Honor Boston Marathon Bombing Anniversary

 

Group gathers over 1,400 signatures using an on-line petition to commemorate the Boston Marathon Bombing Anniversary and provide support to veterans and Boston bombing survivors

 

Yorktown, Virginia – The Global Campaign against Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) announced today that its on-line petition calling for Congress to pass House Resolution 190 has exceeded 1,400 signatures in just the last two weeks.

The petition, posted at [ http://www.change.org/petitions/u-s-house-of-representatives-condemn-ieds-and-support-victims-of-the-boston-marathon-attack ] on Change.org, calls for Congress to Pass House Resolution 190 (H. Res. 190). This resolution condemns last year’s Boston Marathon Bombing; calls for needed support for victims of the attack; honors the efforts of the Public Safety Sector who deal with IEDs in the Homeland; and calls upon the U.S. Department of Defense to begin sharing the blast-trauma related research and other IED event data it has with the Veterans Administration and responsible private sector organizations.

According to COL (Ret) Bob Morris of the Global Campaign, the sharing of information on blast injuries is especially important for both the Boston Marathon Bombing victims and veterans.

“The top four IED related injuries,” says Morris. “are hearing loss, traumatic brain injury (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. 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 because they experienced the blast wave without any protective equipment.”

These injuries produce long-term effects. The Boston victims, like veterans, will experience for many years to come.

Public support for the Change.org petition has come from across the United States and is extremely strong.

Her comments echo the official finding in a recent National Institute of Health’s 2014 Report: Gulf War and Health, Volume 9 Long-Term Effects of Blast Exposures, report on blast injuries in Afghanistan and Iraq that identified blast injury as the “signature injury” of Afghanistan and Iraq. One of the reports most significant findings was that: “The committee’s ability to draw conclusions about associations between exposure to blast and health effects, particularly long-term health effects, was severely restricted by the paucity of high-quality information.” The actions called for in H. Res. 190 specifically address this gap.

Jeffrey Norkus, a Massachusetts veteran wrote: “I live near Boston where this horrific event took place. I also served in the US Army and fully support any actionable resolutions which may help keep civilians out of harm’s way.”

Robert Meilke, an active duty military member serving overseas stated: “IED’s are a global threat, not only to our US military serving today and in the future, but also to our law enforcement and first responders and the US civilian population. Support for this action from our US congressional members is imperative. It is one of the greatest threats we face, both globally and within the continental US.”

In her reason for signing the petition, Peg Moore of Florida wrote: “No human being, should ever be touched by one of these body mangling weapons of total destruction. They aren’t meant to just stop an enemy, they are meant to cause life-altering devastation. To kill in the most painful way possible.”

Stephen St. Clair of Missouri posted his reason for signing the petition as: “This is a weapon that cowards use. It should have the most serious penalty received for using it. Those injured need all of our help in any way to continue to live as normal a life as possible. We need not to fear to life our lives but instill fear in those who use these abominations.”

Blinded Veterans Association, AMVETs, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Rolling Thunder, Firefighters, and others are also formally calling on congress to support H. Res. 190. To date, 52 Members of Congress, including Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA) agreed to become formal co-sponsors and joined the strongly bi-partisan for this legislation.

The group is also receiving support from legendary progressive rock artist Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull). In a message contained in Global Campaign brochures available at his concerts, Anderson says: “We don’t always ask our leaders to take us into war. But we all seek to help bring democratic freedoms and human rights – especially for women and children – to troubled nations throughout the world. On behalf of the brave young men and women of our troops, I urge you to support the victims of IED madness, now in need of rehabilitation and care. For them and their families, please support the Global Campaign against IEDs.”

The Global Campaign intends to begin presenting the petition to members of Congress in the near future as it works to have H. Res. 190 passed in time for the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing.

Morris hopes the increasing show of public support will help move H. Res. 190 through the various committees and to the floor for a vote.

“Many of the Members staffs we contact ‘want to hear from their constituents’ on this issue before making a commitment,” explains Morris. We are hoping the public will provide that voice, especially in Boston, by signing this petition and contacting their elected representatives.

The link for the on-line petition is: [ http://www.change.org/petitions/u-s-house-of-representatives-condemn-ieds-and-support-victims-of-the-boston-marathon-attack ] or [ http://goo.gl/EdxpTy ].

A copy of all signatures and signatory comments received as of the date of this Press Release as well as formal endorsements from Boston IED Victims, Veterans, and the various veterans groups is available upon request. Please contact us for any current updated list.

More information is available on the organization’s website at: http://www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org and updates on global IED incidents as they occur are available through the organization’s twitter feed: @StopIEDs.

Categories
Press & Media

Campaign Press Release 12 February 2014

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
February 12, 2014

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
Twitter: @StopIEDs

 

International Olympic Committee refuses to Condemn Improvised Explosive Devices – Russia Guarantees Safety from Attacks

 

International Olympic Committee refuses to formally condemn the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and the Russian Federation guarantees safety of the Winter Olympic Games

 

Yorktown, Virginia – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) denied a request by the Global Campaign against Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) to formally condemn the use of IEDs. They also refused to call on all opposing parties to recognize the neutrality of the Olympic games and refrain for any violence at the Games out of respect for the neutrality of the games and the principles of Olympism. IOC Communications Director and Official Spokesperson Mark Adams stated the IOC would not become involved in the current threat because it is “only taking an official stance on issues within our remit” stating that “as a sport organisation, the IOC’s scope is to deal with matters directly related to sport or the organisation of the Olympic Games.

In an open response to Mr. Adams the Global Campaign disagreed with the IOC’s decision.

The Global Campaign’s disagreement with the IOC position stems from the fact that their decision to not condemn the use of IEDs is actually contrary to the goal of Olympism as stated in their charter to “to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”

While the Global Campaign recognized that the IOC lacks the capability to physically stop IED attacks, it believes that by refusing to condemn IEDs and ask that all parties respect the neutrality of the Olympic Games, the IOC increased the incentive for violent groups to seek credibility through IED attacks. The Global Campaign also expressed concern for the threat to innocent populations from IED events in connection with the Sochi Olympics and cautioned against measuring success solely by the number of violent incidents prevented at Olympic venues.

The IOC’s response is similar to that of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Washington, D.C. whose response to a similar request was that it was passing the request to the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, and that Russia “guarantee[s]” the success and safety of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

To date the Global Campaign has not received a response from President Putin’s Office.

More information is available on the organization’s website at: www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org and updates on global IED incidents as they occur are available through the organization’s twitter feed: @StopIEDs

The IOC can be contacted through their spokesperson, Mark Adams at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..”>mark.adams@olympic.org. Copies of the Global Campaign Letter to the IOC and their response are shown below.

Original IOC Response

From: Mark Adams
To: [Redacted]
Subject: Your recent letter to the IOC
Date sent: Mon, 27 Jan 2014 16:28:46 +0000

Dear Mr Morris,

Thank you for your recent letter to IOC President Bach and for sharing your campaign against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) with us which is clearly a very important initiative.

As a sport organisation, the IOC’s scope is to deal with matters directly related to sport or the organisation of the Olympic Games. For this reason, we are only taking an official stance on issues within our remit.

Thank you for your understanding and we wish you best of luck with your important work.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Adams

Open Response to IOC Email dated January 27, 2014

Dear Mr. Adams:

Thank you for your recent response to our letter addressed to International Olympic Committee President Bach. We are disappointed the IOC denied our request the IOC condemn IEDs and call on all opposing parties to recognize the neutrality of the Olympic Games and refrain for any violence in connection with the 2014 Winter Olympics.

We respectfully disagree with the IOCs position that “as a sport organisation, the IOC’s scope is to deal with matters directly related to sport or the organisation of the Olympic Games. For this reason, we are only taking an official stance on issues within our remit.”

We feel the IOC’s decision not to condemn IEDs and call on all parties to respect the neutrality of the Olympic Games increases the potential for IED events in connection with the Sochi games.

The IED threat is directly within the IOC’s scope and is a serious matter directly related to sport and organization of the Olympic Games. In fact, IOC president Bach condemned the Volgograd bombings stating that IED attacks “interferes with (the athletes) realizing their full potential on the world’s biggest sporting stage”.

IEDs have been used to target sporting events globally ranging from their use against rival fans at soccer games to the 2012 Boston Marathon.

Previous IOC President Jacques Rogge unequivocally established IEDs as a matter directly related to both sport and the organization of the Olympic Games when he denounced the Boston Marathon IED attack. Both the Olympic movement and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) condemned the bombings, describing them as an attack on the spirit of human achievement and benevolence.

The IOC’s refusal to condemn IEDs and call on all parties to respect the neutrality of the Olympic Games creates the perception the IOC is retreating from that position to a reactive one, only condemning violence after it occurs rather than using its influence and position to advocate against it.

The actions we requested also meet IOC’s mission to “promote Olympism throughout the world and to lead the Olympic Movement”. They fulfill the IOC’s stated roles to act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic Movement; promote a positive legacy from the Olympic Games to the host cities and host Countries; and encourage and support initiatives blending sport with culture and education.

In our view the request for the IOC to call on belligerents to recognize the neutrality of the Olympic Games and refrain from violence is definitely within the organization’s remit.

The Olympic Charter states that one of the IOC’s roles is “to cooperate with competent public or private organisations and authorities in the endeavor to place sport at the service of humanity and thereby to promote peace.” The IOC’s violates this mandate by not using the potential for violence against the Olympic Games to raise awareness of and work against what is becoming the greatest threat to world peace, stability, and development. If you exclude the IED incidents per month during 2010 in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are on average, an estimated over 600 per month globally. According to statistics compiled by Action on Armed Violence, where explosive weapons were used in populated areas 91% of the casualties were reported to be civilians- most of the explosive devices were IEDs. This makes the IED problem a serious humanitarian one, where innocent civilians, most often women and children, bear the brunt of the suffering. Those in affected areas live in fear of additional attacks that disrupt everything from daily routines, to health care to elections. When displacement, destruction, and loss of personal assets are added to this mix sustainable livelihoods are degraded.

IEDs are indiscriminate weapons and their use violates the IOC’s fundamental principal

The goal of Olympism is “to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity”. By not taking a position on IEDs and pro-actively dissuading groups from using them and the Olympics to advance their cause the IOC is violating its Charter that “Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.”. achieve this goal.

Finally, we are extremely concerned President Thomas Bach’s statement that “Security is the responsibility of the host country”; and his assurances with Olympic Committee Chief Alexander Zhukov’s that: “all necessary security measures have been taken and safety will be ensured” may inspire attacks.

Another of the IOCs core roles is “to oppose any political or commercial abuse of sport and athletes”. We respectfully offer that the current situation with IEDs and the Sochi Olympics has been become just such a political issue due, in part, to the IOCs failure to condemn this activity and related actions.

The instability and insecurity in Dagestan has been growing for more than 15 years without any imminent solutions. The Sochi Olympics created an opportunity for both the Russian Government and opposition groups to use the event as a means toward political gain on the world stage. When the Vilayat Dagestan conducted the suicide attacks in Volgograd and openly threatened to target international athletes and tourists in connection with the Sochi Olympics, they directly challenged President Putin’s political capital. In response, his vow to “annihilate” those responsible placed the Sochi Olympics at the center of their political confrontation.

In response, the Russian government defaulted to the traditional military approach in dealing with an IED threat. This emphasizes responses that attack the network, defeat the device, and train the force. In practice this targets the infrastructure used to produce and deploy IEDs; provides protection of military forces against IEDs; and enables military personnel to survive IED attacks. The only modification was to focus on protecting the Olympic venues from direct IED attack. This ignores the socio-economic, cultural, and other root causes that enable the use of IEDs. It also does nothing to reduce the negative psychological impact (e.g., chronic fear) from a systemic threat of IED use. In our view, the military-focused response in Iraq and Afghanistan has had limited effect; it is also failing and exacerbating the problem in Nigeria and other developing countries; and is not implementable in democratic societies.

We believe resolving the IED problem is the global community’s responsibility and the IOC shares in that responsibility. By attempting to distance itself from the issue with its position that the IOC’s “scope is to deal with matters directly related to sport or the organisation of the Olympic Games” the organization creates the perception that it has narrowed its roll in ways that deny reality.

While we understand the IOC lacks a capability to physically stop IED attacks, however we believe it has failed by not bringing pressure to bear on those who would use violence on any party during the Sochi Olympics. Instead, there is incentive for groups to gain credibility through successful IED attacks that harm President Putin’s political capital and degrade the populations’ faith and trust in their leaders and government to keep them safe.

The IOC created a political issue for the Olympic Games by accepting IEDs as political means instead of correctly categorizing them as criminal activities against social order, human rights, and universal fundamental ethical principles. By refusing to condemn IEDs as criminal acts the IOC sends the message it views such threats and attacks as acts of political violence not within their remit. This is divisive in framing the threat as one between governments and opposition groups rather than a threat against peaceful societies.

The actions we requested would have, in fact, achieved the separation between the Olympic Games and these acts of violence the IOC seeks. It would have had a positive impact on the situation by effectively moving IEDs from a military problem to a law enforcement problem emphasizing the crime rather than the political background and motivation of the attackers. When this occurs arguments shift to center around the fact that IED attacks are illegal under existing international law allowing the local community to build a public stigma against the use of IEDs. Implementation of this rule of law element also promotes police reform and accountability; good governance; international and local human rights; accessible and integrated systems of international and local justice; human rights inquiry, implementation and protections. In the end, IED users will be seen as criminals committing a crime and not making a political statement. After the July 2011 incident in Oslo, Norway correctly focused on the perpetrator’s crime effectively removing political views from the dialog on guilt and innocence.

In its failure to act the IOC is keeping the focus on the attackers and their political cause.

While security around the Olympic Games themselves is robust, we are concerned for the safety and well-being of the innocent populations throughout Russia who face a great threat from IED events in connection with the Sochi Olympics. We hope those events that do occur manifest themselves in thwarted or failed attempts rather than detonations.

Success against the IED threat cannot be measured solely by the number of incidents prevented at the Olympic venues; nor can actions to prevent IED events be, as the IOC stated: “the responsibility of the host country”.

Although it is too late to influence the host nation’s approach to this threat, there is still time for the IOC to clarify its position and work to proactively prevent IED events in connection with the Sochi Games.

Respectfully,
Robert Morris
Founder and President

Categories
Press & Media

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 ].

Categories
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.