New Year's Day, 2005
As we begin the New Year, our prayers go out to the people who have lost so much to the recent series of disasters in the Indian Ocean region. The past few days have brought loss and grief to the world that is beyond our comprehension. America will continue to stand with the affected governments to bring aid to those in need. Together the world will cope with the loss and prevail over this destruction.
In the United States, we go forward in the New Year with confidence and faith in the future.
Over the past year, Americans have shown resolve and patience in the war on terror. Our military men and women have brought justice to the enemy and honor to our country. Because of their bravery, over 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan are now free. At home, Americans have restored the vigor of our economy and answered the call to serve neighbors in need.
In the year ahead, we will persevere in the ongoing war on terror to make our Nation safer and stronger. We will continue to confront disease, hunger, and poverty at home and abroad. We will build on our economic progress and strengthen Social Security for the next generation so that all our citizens can realize the promise of America. And we will continue to improve our public schools and uphold our deepest values of faith, family, and service.
We are grateful to the men and women of our Armed Forces who serve and sacrifice to defend our liberty. These heroes and their families have the thanks and respect of our entire Nation. We pray for their safety and for peace and understanding throughout the world.
Laura joins me in sending our best wishes for a Happy New Year. May God bless you, and may God continue to bless America.
GEORGE W. BUSH # # #
For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary December 31, 2004
Friday, December 31, 2004
New Year's Day, 2005
Posted by sookietex at 7:27 PM || ||
The most effective way people can assist relief efforts is by making cash contributions to humanitarian organizations that are conducting relief operations, such as the ones on our List of Relief Organizations.
- List of Relief Organizations Working in the Disaster Area
- USAID's Guide to Effective Giving/ Volunteer Information
- Center for International Disaster Information
- Field Operations Guide
Posted by sookietex at 5:28 PM || ||
Remarks Outside of Indonesian Embassy After Signing Condolence Book
Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC December 30, 2004 STREAMING VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
QUESTION: Good morning, Mr. Secretary.
SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning.
QUESTION: What is the United States doing and what is the world going to do to help in this crisis?
SECRETARY POWELL: We are mobilizing all our assets to help. As you know, we made an initial infusion of money, some $35 million, but we know that this is just the beginning of a much greater need and much more significant commitment from the United States. We have airplanes arriving with aid now. Some six airplanes are landing or in the process of landing and more will follow. U.S. Naval Forces are on the way to the region and will begin arriving next week, and they should be able to provide some additional assistance. Search and rescue teams have left from Los Angeles and from Fairfax County, Virginia, to assist in rescue efforts. We're beefing up our disaster relief teams in the region to make an assessment.
We're also reaching out to all Americans to make a contribution. Americans are a very generous people and we hope that they will go to our websites, state.gov or usaid.gov, and from there they can learn about agencies that are collecting money that will be used for the relief effort. And I encourage all Americans to participate in this relief effort.
The President has made it clear that the United States will do everything we can to assist those nations that have been affected. Sri Lanka and Indonesia are the two nations that are in greatest need. We're also, of course, working with Thailand and other nations that were affected.
The whole international community has to come together on this and, as you know, we formed a core group of nations the other day, as the President announced yesterday. That core group is working. We'll be in a television conference with Kofi Annan at 11 o'clock this morning to make sure that our efforts are coordinated with the United Nations.
This is an unprecedented tragedy. In my many years of government, I've never come across one this large. But these things tend to have a cycle to them. You get the initial reports coming in, you make some preliminary assessments, you start the aid flowing, you start the money flowing, you then send out response teams and assessment teams. And when you get a better understanding of what the needs are and how the countries affected can absorb the relief effort that's heading their way, then you start to fill the pipeline. And that's what we're doing now, with money, with food, with assets. And as the need becomes clearer, you can expect the United States to make more significant contributions in the days, weeks and months ahead.
And it is not just an immediate humanitarian relief effort. It's a rebuilding effort. You saw the destruction that has taken place. Homes have to be rebuilt. Businesses have to be rebuilt. This is the principal responsibility of the governments concerned, but they will need help, and they can be sure that the international community is responding to that need and you can be sure that the United States, at President Bush's direction, will be in the forefront of that response.
QUESTION: Can you tell us how much --
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you wrote a very heart -- it looks like half a page, almost a page, of heartfelt note, and this is your second embassy. What are you writing on behalf of the United States?
SECRETARY POWELL: On behalf of President and Mrs. Bush and the American people, extending sympathy and condolences to the nations involved and the people involved. This is a terrible tragedy. The reports from Indonesia suggest that as many as 45,000 now have been lost. It's rather unprecedented. And so this is the time for us to all join together in solidarity to express our condolences to the families of those who were lost, but also let the people who are in need know that we are coming to assist their governments in helping them and to make sure that we have a coordinated effort with the international community. And so I just wanted to leave a message of sympathy and a message of solidarity.
QUESTION: Can you tell us -- Voice of America Indonesia Service. Can you tell us how much of relief is going to Indonesia?
SECRETARY POWELL: Right now I cannot give you a breakdown because so many relief organizations are on the move. And what we have to do is make sure that there's a good assessment from the country. We need the countries to tell us what they need and where they want the resources applied. And so that's why we have dispatched our disaster assistance relief teams to make those assessments, working with the country. There's nothing worse than sending resources to the wrong place. It costs money to move equipment, to move supplies. We want to make sure we're moving these things to the right place, and it takes a little bit of time.
But this disaster struck last Saturday night. The very next morning, the United States had task forces established and set up, and by Monday morning we were beginning to allocate money to the relief effort, and by Tuesday afternoon we had allocated for the separate $35 million and we had set up a core group to work on relief. And as the President said when he spoke to the world yesterday, we would do more to make sure that everybody understands that America is a compassionate nation, a generous nation that can always be counted on during this time of crisis and tragedy.
And so we are hard at work with my colleagues in the Pentagon, my colleagues in the U.S. Agency for International Development. Everyone else in the United States Government who has a role to play, is being pulled together in the task force under Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman. We're working very well together and you will see a significant step-up in the flow of aid.
And I also will be in touch with members of Congress over the next several days to alert them to what the needs may be as we move further down the road, not just for humanitarian relief but for the rebuilding and reconstruction effort that has to follow.
QUESTION: Congress will have to appropriate funds?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, that's what we have to look at. There are just so many funds that are immediately available to me or to the Administrator of AID. When something like this comes along, we very often have to take the money from other accounts in order to deal with the immediate problem, and then we have to determine how to replenish those accounts. And so this is part of the process of determining where the resources are coming from. And if more resources are needed, then we work with the Office of Management and Budget, and ultimately it's something that the Congress has to be involved in.
In this case, because I think the need will be so great, obviously I think the Congress will have a role to play. But that remains to be determined. Right now, get the aid flowing, get the assistance teams in, make a good assessment, work with the countries, work with the international community, and come up with a good statement of the need so that we can apply the resources to that need and not waste resources.
And once again, I'm so pleased that the response we see from the American people with respect to private donations. Just to single out one, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, recognizing it's a pharmaceutical company, they decided to give money because money is fungible and money can be used, money can be sent to one of the humanitarian organizations that knows exactly what is needed and purchase the right response to that need, purchase the right equipment or food or whatever might be needed. As opposed to shipping commodities over, ship the money to the agencies and let them spend the money in the best possible way and apply the money where the need is greatest.
Thank you. 2004/1416 [End]
Released on December 30, 2004 SOURCE: state.gov
Posted by sookietex at 5:20 PM || ||
President Commits $350 Million for Tsunami Relief Efforts
The disaster around the Indian Ocean continues to grow both in size and scope. I have been monitoring closely the developments and our recovery and relief effort underway. I also look forward to the detailed report of the official delegation led by Secretary Powell and Governor Jeb Bush that will travel to the region very soon.
The United States has already provided an initial, substantial effort through existing emergency response resources, the formation of the core group, and military assets. To help coordinate the massive relief effort, disaster response officials are on the ground, and we have established a Support Center in Thailand that is manned and operational. More than 20 patrol and cargo aircraft have been made available to assess the disaster and deliver relief supplies. Many of those aircraft are on the scene. We have dispatched the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, the Maritime Pre-positioning Squadron from Guam, and an amphibious ship carrying a Marine Expeditionary Unit. They will soon be in position to support relief efforts to include the generation of clean water. We are leading an international coalition to help with immediate humanitarian relief, rehabilitation, and long-term reconstruction efforts. India, Japan, and Australia have pledged to help us coordinate these relief efforts, and I am confident many more nations will join this core group in short order. Reports of strong charitable donations are also very encouraging and reflect the true generosity and compassion of the American people.
Initial findings of American assessment teams on the ground indicate that the need for financial and other assistance will steadily increase in the days and weeks ahead. Because of this information and based on the recommendation of Secretary Powell and Administrator Natsios, I am today committing $350 million to fund the U.S. portion of the relief effort. Our contributions will continue to be revised as the full effects of this terrible tragedy become clearer.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this epic disaster.
For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary December 31, 2004
Posted by sookietex at 3:54 PM || ||
Press Gaggle with Trent Duffy Crawford Middle School Crawford, Texas FULL STREAMING AUDIO 4:07 P.M. CST
MR. DUFFY: Good afternoon, or good evening. (Laughter.) The President continues to monitor the terrible disaster and the emergency recovery and relief effort underway. And at this point, allow me to read for you a statement by the President: All Americans are shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of life and the destruction around the Indian Ocean. In this hour of critical need, America is joining with other nations and international organizations to do everything possible to provide assistance and relief to the victims and their families. Already, cargo aircraft, support personnel, naval units and aid shipments have been dispatched.
To coordinate this massive relief effort, firsthand assessments are needed by individuals on the ground. On Sunday, January 2nd, the President will send a delegation of experts to the affected areas to meet with regional leaders and international organizations to assess what additional aid can be provided by the United States. The delegation will be led by Secretary of State Colin Powell and Governor Jeb Bush, who has extensive experience in the state of Florida with relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts following natural disasters. The President looks forward to receiving the delegation's assessment of the relief efforts, so that our government can best help those in need.
That was a statement by the President. With that, I will answer your questions, if you have any.
Q Where are they going?
MR. DUFFY: They are going to the affected areas around the Indian Ocean. The State Department will be formulating their travel schedule in the coming days. Of course, obviously, they're being very sensitive not to interfere with the relief effort underway, so that will be planned out over the coming days.
Q Trent, what do you make of the fact that while we've given the initial $35 million in aid, that there are literally millions and millions of dollars being sent in over the Internet by individuals, sometimes even outpacing various government contributions. What do you make of this outpouring of private citizens, via the Internet, donation-wise?
MR. DUFFY: I think it reflects what we've been talking about for the past several days, which is that the American people are some of the most generous on the planet. And we certainly welcome the outpouring of support from the American people and from nations around the globe for this terrible tragedy.
Q Does it surprise you, the use of the Internet this way?
MR. DUFFY: I'm not an Internet critic, Jeff.
Q Today, at the U.N., Kofi Annan was asked if he would go to the region, and he specifically said, well, at this time, available rooms and shelter, that kind of thing, other resources should really be going to people who are displaced and these would be disrupted if, in fact, he were to go, was kind of his feeling. Is the President concerned about the disruption that Secretary Powell and Government Bush's visit might make?
MR. DUFFY: No, as I mentioned, they're going to be very sensitive to not interfere with the relief and recovery efforts underway. All steps will be taken to make sure that whatever resources are available, not to be interfering with the recovery effort will be utilized.
Q Should this action be seen as a sign that the United States government doesn't think the U.N. can handle this?
MR. DUFFY: Absolutely not. We're working in partnership with the United Nations. In fact, the core coalition of countries -- which, of course, includes the United States, Japan, India and Australia -- has been meeting regularly and is being joined by United Nations officials, and I believe Mr. Egeland was part of discussions this afternoon. They're talking on a daily basis, and those efforts will just continue, so working hand-in-glove with the United Nations effort.
Q When was the decision made to send Secretary Powell and Governor Bush? And how long do you expect their visit to last?
MR. DUFFY: I don't have an update on how long. The decision was made in the days following the earthquake, as the President began to think about what best way for the United States to respond to this terrible tragedy.
Q Trent, when Secretary Powell goes to the U.N. tomorrow to visit the Secretary General, will he urge the Secretary General to also go to the region? Or does the White House disagree with Kofi Annan's decision not to go to the region at this time?
MR. DUFFY: I only speak for the United States and what our delegation is going to be doing.
Q Why Jeb Bush, because of his experience of Florida, of similar disasters in Florida?
MR. DUFFY: As the statement by the President said, he has extensive experience in the state of Florida with relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts. He's also the President's brother -- I think it signifies the high level of importance that the President puts on this delegation.
Q Given the cost of aid to Asia, the cost of the war, is there any thought being given to toning down some of the lavish inaugural activities?
MR. DUFFY: I think the inaugural activities are paid for out of private contributions, not governmental funds. I would refer you to the Inaugural Committee for an answer for that.
Q Trent, does the President feel that the U.S. --
MR. DUFFY: I think the President addressed that yesterday. The United States is doing everything -- both from an official standpoint, as well as private contributions; we're the world's most generous country, we'll continue to be. The President is very satisfied with the international coalition that's coming together to confront this terrible tragedy. As Secretary Powell said this morning, this is just the beginning, this is going to be a sustained, multi-million, multi-national effort for years to come.
Q Does the President know anyone that's been personally affected by this disaster?
MR. DUFFY: I'm not sure, Matt, but I can ask.
Q I heard that Andrew Natsios said yesterday that the $35 million commitment pretty much wipes out his funds. Is the administration going to be asking for supplementals for emergency relief?
MR. DUFFY: I saw Administrator Natsios address that in the State Department briefing. I think what he was referring to is that because the budget was approved so late in the year that they just had to do some accounting, but that he's got the funds that he needs. But as I said earlier, I mean, obviously, if there are additional resources that are required, I would have every expectation that the President will seek those.
Q There's an awful lot of layers of bureaucracy now between private organizations involved. The U.S., leading the coalition of four, are trying to coordinate all these efforts. Is the President concerned at all that all this -- and the U.N., as well. Is the President concerned that all these layers of bureaucracy is hindering, actually, getting money on the ground as fast as possible?
MR. DUFFY: No, and that's one of the top priorities, as we try to confront this massive tragedy, is to make sure that that doesn't happen. And that's why it's important to proceed at the pace that we are, so that we just don't have a lot of duplication. That's why the core coalition was brought in. That's why we're working hand-in-glove with the United Nations. So our relief agencies are certainly sensitive to that very notion, having confronted other tragedies. And we're taking every effort to avoid that.
Q How much of a factor, or was it a factor -- security concerns, obviously, the infrastructure in these areas, you're talking police officials, all of their resources being marshaled to help the victims, but the security situation on the ground, I'm guessing, in some areas is quite unstable. How much of a factor was that in making the decision to send not only Secretary Powell, but also his brother to the region?
MR. DUFFY: I'm not sure if I understand your question. You're concerned about the security of the delegation traveling to the region?
MR. DUFFY: Well, every step will be taken to ensure their security, as it would --
Q Without --
MR. DUFFY: -- as it would when any delegation travels on behalf of the United States.
Is that it? Thanks.
Hold on, I've got a partial week ahead for you. Clearing brush reminded me of the week ahead, I don't know why.
On Monday, January 3rd, the President will host newly elected members of Congress and their spouses at the White House and make remarks to them. On Tuesday, January 4th, no public events are scheduled at this time. On Wednesday, January 5th, the President will travel to Collinsville, Illinois, where he will make remarks on medical liability reform. And as far as the return time for Sunday, it's in the morning, for guidance purposes. We'll have more to say on that as it firms up, but just to let you know.
Thanks, everyone. END 4:17 P.M. CST
For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary December 30, 2004
Posted by sookietex at 3:41 PM || ||
President to Send Delegation to Assess Relief Aid
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
All Americans are shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of life and the destruction around the Indian Ocean. In this hour of critical need, America is joining with other nations and international organizations to do everything possible to provide assistance and relief to the victims and their families.
Already cargo aircraft, support personnel, naval units, and aid shipments have been dispatched. To coordinate this massive relief effort, first-hand assessments are needed by individuals on the ground. On Sunday, January 2, I will send a delegation of experts to the affected areas to meet with regional leaders and international organizations to assess what additional aid can be provided by the United States. The delegation will be led by Secretary of State Colin Powell and Governor Jeb Bush, who has extensive experience in the State of Florida with relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction efforts following natural disasters. I look forward to receiving the delegation's assessment of the relief efforts so that our Government can best help those in need.
For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary December 30, 2004
Posted by sookietex at 2:58 PM || ||
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Soldiers Deliver Supplies, Smiles to Local Children
|LSA Anaconda, Balad, Iraq -- More than 120 students in the nearby village of Albu Hassan were treated to gifts delivered by Soldiers from the 1st Corps Support Command, 301st Signal Company and 353rd Civil Affairs Command on Dec. 28.|
The school, which was opened in June, was built as part of Operation Anaconda Neighborhood, a collaborative effort of the units stationed here to improve the quality of life in the surrounding areas. Since its inception in January, OAN has spent more than $4.2 million to improve schools, medical clinics, roads and water filtration projects in the villages near here.
Release #0412029i SOURCE: MNFI
Posted by sookietex at 5:27 PM || ||
Press Statement Richard Boucher, Spokesman Washington, DC December 30, 2004
Belarus: Conviction of Mikhail Marinich
On December 30, a Belarusian court convicted prominent Belarusian political figure Mikhail Marinich on a spurious charge of theft of equipment provided to his non-governmental organization. The court sentenced him to prison for five years. As we have noted before, the equipment in question is the property of the U.S. Government, and we make no claim against Ambassador Marinich in connection with its disposition. The United States condemns this abuse and earlier abuses of the judicial system by the Lukashenko regime to persecute Belarusian citizens for their political beliefs. The United States will consider measures it may take to hold accountable those Belarusian officials who participate in such abuses of democratic procedures and human rights.
2004/1415 [End] SOURCE: state.gov
Posted by sookietex at 4:19 PM || ||
Inaugural Parade Video
from C-SPAN, created by cable provided as a public service
Bush 2d Inaugural Speech Full Text, Steaming Video
President Sworn-In to Second Term
Full Video of Speech
Security Planning 2005 Presidential Inaugural - Initial Security Information , Event Maps, General Public Entry Points for the 2005 Inaugural Parade, Road Closures for 2005 Presidential Inaugural, List of Street Closings for 2004 Presidential Inaugural, (Courtesy of Metropolitan Police Department). SOURCE: The United States Secret Service.
live webcam platform construction from the west lawn FULL STREAMING VIDEO
Metropolitan Police Department Inauguration Information (Street Closures)
(Courtesy of Metropolitan Police Department)
Riding Metro to the Presidential Inauguration
(Courtesy of WMATA)
U.S. Capitol Police Inauguration Information (Swearing-In Ceremony)
(Courtesy of U.S. Capitol Police)
PIC Announces Participants Invited to Perform in 55th Inaugural Parade
order of participants for the 55th Inaugural Parade
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) Executive Director Greg Jenkins announced the initial list of participants invited to perform in the 55th Inaugural Parade.
“We were humbled by both the talent and the great enthusiasm from groups across the country who applied to participate in this year’s Inaugural parade,” stated Jenkins. “We’ve worked hard to make sure there is ample representation from across America and believe the talent and efforts of all will ensure the 2005 Inaugural Parade reflects both the values and skill of our great nation.”
The goal in the selection process is to have as many as 50 states represented in the parade with a variety of entertainment.
Alaska Highlanders – Anchorage, AK
Auburn University Marching Band – Auburn University, AL
Mobile Azalea Trail – Mobile, AL
Camden Fairview High School Marching Band – Camden, AR
Arcadia High School Marching Band – Arcadia, CA
Merced County Sheriffs Posse – Merced, CA
Freedom Riders – Kersey, CO
First Company Governor’s Horse Guards – Avon, CT
Connecticut’s Second Company Governor’s Horse Guard – Newtown, CT
St. John’s College High School – Washington, DC
USS Uniform Division Honor Guard – Washington, DC
USS Uniformed Division Motorcycle Guard – Washington, DC
New Castle County Police Mounted Unit – New Castle, DE
Gaither High School Marching Cowboys – Tampa, FL
21st Ohio Infantry Civil War History Group – Suwanee, GA
Lowndes High School “Georgia Bridgemen” Band – Valdosta, GA
Grant Wood All City Drum Corps – Cedar Rapids, IA
Americanas – Rexburg, ID
Red Hot Mamas, Ltd. – Hayden, ID
Lincoln-Way Central high School Marching Knights – New Lenox, IL
Culver Black Horse Troop & Equestriennes – Culver, IN
Marion County Sheriff’s Precision Drill Squad – Indianapolis, IN
Ft. Riley Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard – Ft. Riley, KS
Marshall County High School Marching Marshalls – Benton, KY
Warren County Prevention Partnership – Bowling Green, KY
West Monroe High School Marching Band – West Monroe, LA
Lincoln Minute Men – Lincoln, MA
American Originals Fife & Drum Corps – Annapolis, MD
Ballou High School – Washington, DC
Military Order of the Purple Heart – District Heights, MD
Scarborough and Elliot PD Exlorerer Posts – Scarborogh, ME
Mid American Pompon – Farmington Hills, MI
Lakeville Senior High School Marching Band – Lakeville, MN
Stars ‘N’ Steeds Mounted Drill Team – Willard, MO
Stone High School Band – Wiggins, MS
West Johnston High School Band – Benson, NC
University of Nebraska at Omaha Marching Mavericks – Omaha, NE
Spartans Drum and Bugle Corps – Nashua, NH
Jackson Memorial High School Bands – Jackson, NJ
Zuni Pueblo Band – Zuni, NM
McQueen High School Band – Reno, NV
FDNY Emerald Society Pipes & Drums – Breezy Point, NY
NYPD Emerald Society Pipes and Drums – Bronx, NY
Lincoln Highway National Museum & Archives – Galion, OH
Ohio State University Marching Band – Columbus, OH
A Touch of Ear Draft Mule Hitch – Cyril, OK
Broken Arrow High School Marching Band – Broken Arrow, OK
Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office – Tulsa, OK
Ring of Fire – Sherwood, OR
Easton Area High School “Red Rover” Marching Band – Easton, PA
Washington Crossing Foundation – Newton Square, PA
Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers – Cranston, RI
Easley NJROTC – Easley, SC
The Summerall Guards – The Citadel – Charleston, SC
Northern State University Marching Wolves – Aberdeen, SD
University of Tennessee – Knoxville, TN
Crawford High School Pirate Band – Crawford, TX
First Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment – Fort Hood, TX
Kilgore College Rangerettes – Kilgore, TX
Ross Volunteer Company of Texas A&M University – College Station, TX
Texas A&M University – Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band – College Station, TX
U.S. Border Control, El Paso Sector – El Paso, TX
University of Texas Longhorn Band – Austin, TX
American Fork High School Marching Band – American Fork, UT
American Rescue Dog Association – Woodford, VA
Halau Ho'omau I ka Wai Ola 'O Hawai'i - Alexandria, VA
United States Army Caisson Platoon – Ft. Myer, VA
Virginia Military Institute – Lexington, VA
Virginia Tech Regimental Band – Blacksburg, VA
Norwich University – Northfield, VT
Menasha High School Bluejay Brigade Marching Band – Menasha, WI
Liberty High School – Clarksburg, WV
Wyoming High School All State Marching Band – Worland, WY
- Entertainment 55th Inaugural performers - “We are excited about what is a talented and diverse group of performers who will provide fantastic entertainment to enhance the Inaugural events. We’ve worked tirelessly to assemble a lineup that is not only unique, but represents the best and brightest of America’s talent,” said PIC Director Greg Jenkins.
- Presidential Inaugural Committee - The following is a list of the Members of the 2005 Presidential Inaugural Committee: The committee will be responsible for planning and coordinating all official activities associated with the President's upcoming Inauguration
- 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee - WASHINGTON, DC- Today, the 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) Chairman Jeanne Johnson Phillips and Executive Director Greg Jenkins announced the inaugural theme, “Celebrating Freedom, Honoring Service”, and the schedule of events surrounding the 55th Presidential Inauguration.
- 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee - "On January 20, 2005, George W. Bush and Vice President Cheney will be inaugurated for a second term as President and Vice President of the United States. The 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) organizes, plans, and executes most Inaugural celebration activities as well as works to select participants for the Inaugural parade and assign credentials to media covering the Inauguration and surrounding festivities. All Americans are invited to share in this historic celebration."
Posted by sookietex at 2:31 PM || ||
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Fallujah, Iraq -- Ministry of Health officials, in coordination with members of the 4th Civil Affairs Group of the I Marine Expeditionary Force, have made great progress in their efforts to provide medical care to the newly returning residents of Fallujah.
As of today, Fallujah General Hospital is fully operational with 31 staff members, who are prepared to provide emergency, surgical and general health care. Additionally, the hospital positioned doctors and ambulances at Humanitarian Aide sites, entry control points and medical centers such as the Jolan Clinic.
In response to Ministry of Health television announcements urging all Fallujah medical specialists to report to work immediately, additional physicians and medical personnel are beginning to arrive at the Civil Military Operations Center offering to take any medical assignment.
Cmdr. Luis P. Tripoli, physician for the 4th Civil Affairs Group, remarked, “I am really proud of these people who have stepped up. They don’t complain about money or danger. They care about taking care of patients; remarkable.”
The Ministry of Health has set clear priorities for future Fallujah medical care capabilities including; the rehabilitation of five public health clinics, providing health care to Iraqi Security Forces and Public Order Battalions, and identifying and mitigating local health threats. The medical teams of the 4th Civil Affairs Group stand ready to assist the efforts of the Ministry of Health and Fallujah’s medical professionals.
Release #0412029g Dec. 29, 2004 Source: MNFI
Posted by sookietex at 8:22 PM || ||
Department of Energy and Iraqi Ministry of Oil Sign Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation
MOU Encourages Cooperation in Energy Analysis, Science and Technology and Energy Technology Demonstration
WASHINGTON, DC -- At the Second U.S.-Iraq Joint Economic Commission, Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy and International Affairs Karen Harbert and Iraqi Ministry of Oil Director General for Economics and Finance Radwan Al-Sa’adi today signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Cooperation on Energy Analysis, Science and Technology, and Energy Technology Demonstration.
The non-legally binding MOU establishes a framework for formal consultations and cooperation on a broad range of energy, scientific, and environmental issues between the United States and the Republic of Iraq. Activities under the energy partnership will support the rehabilitation and expansion of Iraq’s energy infrastructure, which will be critical to advancing Iraq’s medium- and long-term economic development goals.
Initially, the joint cooperative program, which will involve other U.S. and Iraqi agencies, will focus on regulatory, technical, and financial advisory assistance that will help to strengthen capacities in Iraqi institutions, and promote advanced energy technologies and techniques.
“The MOU and the informative energy dialogue that we held on December 17th at the Department of Energy will be an invaluable consultative mechanism for developing and implementing an effective energy program," Assistant Secretary Harbert said. "We believe that the joint energy program will help to advance shared objectives of promoting a stable, economically vibrant democracy in Iraq and enhancing regional and international energy cooperation.”
Jeanne Lopatto, 202/586-4940
Drew Malcomb, 202/586-5806
Posted by sookietex at 8:08 PM || ||
U.S. Department of Defense Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) News Release
On the Web: defenselink.mil/releases/ Media contact: +1 (703) 697-5131
Public contact: dod.mil/faq/comments or +1 (703) 428-0711 No. 1325-04 IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 28, 2004
U.S. Military Support to Tsunami Relief Efforts
U.S. Pacific Command is sending a forward command element (FCE) to Utapao, Thailand, to establish the command, control and communication structure for Joint Task Force 536 (JTF 536).
Thailand's decision to allow use of this Thai military facility is welcomed. The U.S. intends to use, with Thailand's cooperation, this military facility as a regional support center for emergency and medical personnel providing assistance throughout the region as well as a staging area for U.S. military and rescue aircraft, forensic experts, and other relief assistance.
The FCE and follow-on JTF will coordinate U.S. military relief efforts in the region. The FCE and JTF will work with the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, host nations and humanitarian relief agencies to identify requirements and coordinate relief efforts.
The focus of the mission will be to prevent further loss of life and human suffering by expeditiously applying resources to the overall relief effort. The FCE team is comprised mainly of personnel from the III Marine Expeditionary Force. Additional personnel will be deployed from other locations in the Pacific command area of responsibility.
U.S. military relief efforts include:
U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo aircraft in Yokota, Japan, loaded with relief supplies are expected to deploy to Utapao, Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand.
U.S. Navy deployed P-3 aircraft from Kadena, Japan, to operate in the vicinity of Thailand with Utapao, Royal Thai Air Force Base, serving as a hub for operations.
Other forces enroute to the region that could be committed to relief efforts, if necessary, include USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, including USS Shoup, USS Shiloh, USS Benfold, and USNS Ranier and USS Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, including USS Duluth, USS Milius, USS Rushmore, USS Thach, USS Pasadena and USCG Munro.
U.S. Air Force will deploy KC-135 aircraft from Japan and Guam to provide assistance as directed.
U.S. military exercises often include training for humanitarian assistance. This humanitarian assistance training helps ensure the U.S. military is able to rapidly respond as directed to support relief efforts.
The Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command will continue to review resources available and direct forces as necessary to provide authorized humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to affected nations in the region.
Posted by sookietex at 7:47 PM || ||
For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary December 29, 2004
|President Discusses Support for Earthquake and Tsunami Victims
Prairie Chapel Ranch Crawford, Texas
information on US Humanitarian Assistance and how you can help President Discusses Support for Earthquake and Tsunami Victims FULL STREAMING Audio
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Laura and I and the American people are shocked and we are saddened by the terrible loss of life from the recent earthquake and the tsunamis in the Indian Ocean. Our prayers go out to the people who have lost so much to this series of disasters. Our hearts are also with the Americans who have lost loved ones in this tragedy. Our embassies are working with host governments to locate American citizens who are still missing and to assist those who have been injured or displaced.
This morning, I spoke with the leaders of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia, and expressed my condolences and our country's condolences. I told them of our support; I praised their steadfast leadership during these difficult times. We're grateful to the American and international organizations that are working courageously to save lives and to provide assistance, and I assured those leaders this is only the beginning of our help.
We are committed to helping the affected countries in the difficult weeks and months that lie ahead. We pledged an initial $35 million in relief assistance. We have deployed disaster experts to the region. All leaders expressed their appreciation for the hard work of our ambassadors and their embassy staffs to help the countries in need. As well, we're dispatching a Marine expeditionary unit, the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, and the Maritime pre-position squadron from Guam to the area to help with relief efforts.
Secretary Powell is working hard. He has spoken with his counterparts in Japan, India, Australia, as well as other nations who are helping with the response in order to begin building an international coalition for immediate humanitarian relief and long-term recovery and reconstruction efforts. Based on these discussions, we've established a regional core group with India, Japan and Australia to help coordinate relief efforts. I'm confident more nations will join this core group in short order. Under Secretary of State Mark Grossman will lead a U.S. task force to work with these partners to help coordinate interagency response in our own government and to encourage other nations to participate in the relief efforts.
Let me answer some questions. Deb.
Q Mr. President, more than 50 people died yesterday, alone, in the Sunni Triangle area. And with the Sunnis backing out of the election, how concerned are you that the world and the Iraqis will view this election as credible?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you said "with the Sunnis backing out," you mean a Sunni party has backed out? Yes. I talked to President Yawer yesterday, who happens to be a Sunni, who on the one hand expressed concern about the security situation in Mosul, and on the other hand, reminded me that most people in Iraq -- Sunni or Shia -- want to vote. And so the task at hand is to provide as much security as possible for the election officials, as well as for the people inside cities like Mosul, to encourage them to express their will.
Now, Osama bin Laden issued a statement, as you know, which made the stakes of this pretty clear to me. His vision of the world is where people don't participate in democracy. His vision of the world is where people kill innocent lives in order to affect their behavior and affect their way of living. His vision of the world is one in which there is no freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and/or freedom of conscience. And that vision stands in stark contrast to the vision of, by far, the vast majority of Iraqis and leaders like Prime Minister Allawi and President Yawer, whose vision includes the freedom of expression, the freedom of the right to vote.
And so the stakes are clear in this upcoming election. It's the difference between the ability for individuals to express themselves and the willingness of an individual to try and impose his dark vision on the world, on the people of Iraq and elsewhere. And it's very important that these elections proceed.
We just got off a conference call with our acting -- not "acting" -- Ambassador Negroponte is not in Baghdad, but Ambassador Jeffrey, his number two man, as well as General Casey, talking about how best to provide the security necessary for people to feel comfortable in voting.
Q Mr. President, were you offended by the suggestion that rich nations have been stingy in the aid over the tsunami? And is this a sign of another rift with the U.N.?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I felt like the person who made that statement was very misguided and ill-informed. The -- take, for example, in the year 2004, our government provided $2.4 billion in food, in cash, in humanitarian relief to cover the disasters for last year. That's $2.4 billion. That's 40 percent of all the relief aid given in the world last year, was provided by the United States government. No, we're a very generous, kindhearted nation.
You know, the -- what you're beginning to see is a typical response from America. First of all, we provide immediate cash relief, to the tune of about $35 billion [sic]. And then there will be an assessment of the damage, so that the relief is -- the next tranche of relief will be spent wisely. That's what's happening now. I just got off the phone with the President of Sri Lanka, she asked for help to assess the damage. In other words, not only did they want immediate help, but they wanted help to assess damage so that we can better direct resources. And so our government is fully prepared to continue to provide assistance and help.
It takes money, by the way, to move an expeditionary force into the region. In other words, we're diverting assets, which is part of our overall aid package. We'll continue to provide assets. Plus, the American people will be very generous, themselves. I mean, the $2.4 billion was public money -- of course, provided by the taxpayers. But there's also a lot of individual giving in America. In this case, I think it's very important for Americans who want to give to provide cash to organizations that will be able to focus resources and assets to meet specific needs. In other words, a lot of times Americans, in their desire to help, will send blankets or clothes. That may be necessary, but to me it makes more sense to send cash to organizations that could then use that cash to make sure we match resources with specific needs on the ground. There are many NGOs now involved that understand what is specifically needed to meet the needs of these countries.
This has been a terrible disaster. I mean, it's just beyond our comprehension to think about how many lives have been lost. I know that our fellow citizens are particularly troubled to learn that many of the deaths were young children, and we grieve for their families, their moms and dads who are just, you know, heartsick during this -- during these times.
Q Sir, Schroeder this morning said that the Paris Club nations should put a moratorium on this debt of Somalia and Indonesia. Is that something that you think the U.S. and other Paris Club nations should do, put a moratorium on these countries' debt?
THE PRESIDENT: We'll look at all requests. Right now we're assessing the short-term needs. We are -- there are two issues that are involved, obviously, in these disasters. One, what can we do immediately to help? And then, what needs to happen in the long-term to help these countries rebuild? And we're still at the stage of immediate help. But slowly but surely, the size of the problem will become known, particularly when it comes to rebuilding infrastructure and community, to help these affected parts of the world get back up on their feet.
Q Mr. President, are you confident that the U.S. west coast residents -- Hawaiian residents, Alaska residents -- are well enough protected with early warning systems for possible tsunamis affecting this country and coastal --
THE PRESIDENT: No, I appreciate that question, it's a -- I think that part of the long-term strategy in how to deal with natural disaster is to make sure we have -- "we," the world, has a proper tsunami warning system. As a matter of fact, the President of Sri Lanka also mentioned that to me. She said that one of the things that she and the Prime Minister of India discussed -- I'm not sure they discussed it, but they're both thinking the same way, let me put it to you that way -- is the development of a proper warning system. And I think it's going to be very -- I can't answer your question specifically, do we have enough of a warning system for the west coast. I am going to -- I am now asking that to our agencies and government to let us know. I mean, that's a very legitimate question. Clearly, there wasn't a proper warning system in place for that part of the world, and it seems like to me it makes sense for the world to come together to develop a warning system that will help all nations.
Q And seeing that as we have, does it concern you that we may not have that mechanism in place? Or is this something we can use through our civil defense air raid siren system?
THE PRESIDENT: I just have to look into it, that's a very legitimate question. I am on the -- I presume that we are in pretty good shape. I think our location in the world is such that we may be less vulnerable than other parts, but I am not a geologist, as you know. But I think it's a very legitimate question.
I've so far focused on the international approach towards a tsunami warning systems and it seems like to me it's a -- it makes sense for governments to come together and figure out how best to provide a warning system that will help all nations be prepared for such a disaster. Obviously, such a warning system was not in place.
Q Mr. President, there continues to be criticism of the speed with which American troops are being armed in Iraq. Are you satisfied with the way the --
THE PRESIDENT: If the Iraqi troops are being armed?
Q No, the U.S. troops.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, I beg your pardon.
Q Are you satisfied with the pace with which the U.S. troops are being armed in Iraq?
THE PRESIDENT: Are you talking about the armored vehicle issue, for example?
Q That and others.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I have looked at the statistics on that, and we have stepped up the production of armored Humvees significantly. The other issue is the rearmament of existing -- of vehicles that are now in theater, vehicles that require a different armament structure than that which they initially were manufactured with. And I am told that those vehicles will be armed up by mid-summer of 2005. And what I know is, is that the Defense Department is working expeditiously with private contractors and with our military to get these vehicles armed up.
Well, listen, thank you all for coming by. I'm sorry to disrupt your day, but I felt like it was important to talk about what is going to be one of the major natural disasters in world history. And it's important for the world to know that our government is focused and will continue to respond to help those who suffer.
Q Any plans for New Year's Eve?
THE PRESIDENT: Early to bed.
Q New Year's resolutions?
THE PRESIDENT: I'll let you know. Already gave you a hint on one, which is my waistline. I'm trying to set an example.
Thank you all.
END 8:51 A.M. CST
Posted by sookietex at 3:47 PM || ||
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Interview on Fox and Friends With Brian Kilmeade
Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC December 28, 2004 (6:51 a.m. EST)
MR. KILMEADE: Joining us right now, we're talking to the Secretary of State, Colin Powell. And the focus right now, Mr. Secretary, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
SECRETARY POWELL: My pleasure.
MR. KILMEADE: I guess the focus right now is the massive devastation which has devastated ten nations, through five time zones, through the tsunami. Can you give us an idea of what the U.S. is already committed to do?
SECRETARY POWELL: Yes. This is an unprecedented catastrophe. I mean, as you noted, five times zones, ten countries involved, tens upon tens of thousands of people lost. The number right now, 26,000. That number will go up.
The United States has already committed $15 million, $4 million initially, to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, another $10 million to other disaster relief agencies. Our Pacific Command has dispatched nine patrol planes and 12 C-130s carrying relief supplies. So it's $15 million initially, plus the work that the military is doing.
But clearly the nature of this catastrophe is such that more assistance will be required, but it will take time to see what the needs of these nations are and how best to help them.
MR. KILMEADE: Well, who are you going to, Mr. Secretary, in terms of getting -- we have to be under one command in this to rebuild the entire area, rather than just flooding in money and operations and people, how are we going about it? Who are we going through?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we're going about it in several ways. One, I've been in touch with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan. We spoke last night. And he has appointed individuals within the UN to handle all of the UN's disaster relief activities. And then we're dealing directly with each of the individual countries. It isn't something you can deal with on a regional basis because these are sovereign nations. Some of these sovereign nations are better able to manage the problem without a great deal of outside assistance, and other nations are not as equipped to deal with the problem and they will need more assistance. Sri Lanka, for example, will need a lot more help than, say, India, which is a more sophisticated nation able to manage a great deal of its own relief effort.
MR. KILMEADE: Do you have a sense of the operation, if people watching right now in America -- we're the kindest country in the history of this planet -- where we should go, how we should help, where we should send our stuff and our money?
SECRETARY POWELL: The best way to make a contribution, I would suggest you go to our website, state.gov, state.gov -- very easy -- and on our website you will see addresses and phone numbers of locations where you can make donations or you can make other inquiries as to what is needed.
We have to make sure that we send people what they really need, and not just flood them with things they don't need, which then clutters up the entire transportation system. So if you go to our website, you'll find information that will cue you.
MR. KILMEADE: And, Mr. Secretary, your things-to-do list doesn't just revolve around the tsunami, which would be enough for anybody, we've got to talk also about Iraq and the January 30th elections. Yesterday, at least yesterday, bin Laden factored himself into the fray, saying Zarqawi's my man and Sunnis stay out. What does that do to the election process, if anything?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we now have two murderers, two terrorists, two thugs, talking to each other. I don't know what this rhetorical support will translate into, but we're moving right ahead toward elections on the 30th of January. The Iraqi people deserve the opportunity, they have the right to vote, to see who their leaders will be for the future, and we cannot allow murderers and terrorists to deny them that right.
Now, in most of the country the election will go off well; it's relatively secure. In the Sunni area, which is the most populated part of the country, we have an insurgency that is raging and we will be devoting all of our coalition efforts and the efforts of Iraqi military and police forces to bring this under control so that people will feel secure and safe in coming out to vote. It won't be perfect, but I think people want to vote, and they're prepared to take some risk to go out and vote, just as they did in Afghanistan, just as they have done in other parts of the world where terrorists came out and said we're not going to let you vote. The people said we want to vote, we want to have a say in how we're going to be governed and how we're going to be led.
MR. KILMEADE: You're a master diplomat. Who are you going to go to in Iraq, a representative of the Sunni population, to get them more involved in the process, with their largest Sunni party saying, "Count me out"?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we're talking to all of the Sunni leaders and we're encouraging neighboring countries that have contacts with Sunni leaders to speak to those leaders and get them to say to the people, "Come out and vote." The party that pulled out, we hope that they will review their actions and take another look at security closer to the event, and perhaps rejoin the process.
But we know there is a concern in the Sunni community about the insurgency, about safety, and we're doing everything we can to allay those concerns so that the people can come out and vote on the 30th of January.
MR. KILMEADE: Mr. Secretary, did you tell Tony Blair and the President of the United States he needs more troops in Iraq?
SECRETARY POWELL: In my conversation with President Bush and Prime Minister Blair at an Oval Office meeting when Prime Minister Blair was visiting the United States last month, we got to talking about the situation and I said that we needed more troops on the ground and the solution to that challenge was to build up the Iraqi forces as quickly as possible.
MR. KILMEADE: Right.
SECRETARY POWELL: And that was the real answer to the question.
MR. KILMEADE: So, in other words, you didn't say, "Get more American troops in there. That's my recommendation as a military guy and the Secretary of State," you just said, "Get more Iraqis ready to go," which seems to be a very frustrating process?
SECRETARY POWELL: It's a process that takes time. You just don't create battalions and divisions overnight. General Petraeus, one of our most skilled commanders, is working on this, and what I said to Prime Minister Blair and to President Bush is that we need more troops on the ground to provide the security that the people expect and that we need in order to get the job done; and since it was unlikely that there would be large numbers of additional coalition troops available, the solution to the problem was to build up the Iraqi forces as quickly as we could. It wasn't a surprising comment on my part because that's exactly what our strategy has been.
MR. KILMEADE: And two real quick issues. As you leave office, two things I want to get your opinion on. Are we in danger of giving birth to another Iran if this -- if Ayatollah Sistani leads a party that now is in control of Iraq?
SECRETARY POWELL: No, I don't think so. This is an election that's being held under a set of rules, the Transitional Administrative Law, which recognizes that the Shia will be the majority in any national assembly but that the rights of minority are protected. And yes, there are Iraqi Shias and Iranian Shias, but they are quite different and I think the Iraqis Shias have no particular love for the brand of fundamentalism that they see across the border in Iran. Yes, they are Shias. Yes, they are faithful. But they have acknowledged in participating in the drafting of the Transitional Administrative Law, that they recognize that religion has a place in society but politics has a place in society, and the politics of the situation means that they will have to accommodate the needs and desires and aspirations of the minorities.
MR. KILMEADE: Yeah, let's hope. And Hamas doing kind of well and gaining a foothold in the Palestinian elections, at least preliminarily, does that concern you?
SECRETARY POWELL: That's something we have to look at carefully. If Hamas continues to support terrorist activity and has elements within Hamas that conduct terrorist activity and they are not prepared to fully enter the political process as a peaceful organization that will have nothing to do with terrorism -- that's what they have to do -- and if they don't do that, then I think it is a problem.
MR. KILMEADE: You going to miss this job?
SECRETARY POWELL: This has been an exciting job and I am going to miss it. I'm going to miss the people I've been working with. But, you know, new doors are out there waiting to be opened.
MR. KILMEADE: So is that your way of saying you'd like to come to Fox News in some capacity?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I haven't been given an offer.
MR. KILMEADE: All right. I'm going to work on it, okay? I'll go to your people. Thank you, Mr. Secretary of State, Colin Powell. Thanks for joining us live this morning on Fox and Friends.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much.
2004/1401 [End] Released on December 28, 2004
Posted by sookietex at 5:38 PM || ||
Interview on CNN's American Morning With Heidi Collins
Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC December 28, 2004 (7:05 a.m. EST)
MS. COLLINS: A few moments ago, I spoke with Secretary of State Colin Powell at the State Department about relief efforts and I asked for his reaction to comments by a UN Under Secretary General calling U.S. relief efforts stingy.
SECRETARY POWELL: It's a terrible catastrophe that has hit all of these countries, unprecedented in scope and scale, and that death toll you mentioned is liable to rise even higher. So we will have to make an assessment as we move ahead to see what the needs are, to see what the countries are able to do for themselves, and what the international community needs.
We responded to the initial request that came from the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent with a $4 million contribution against their $7 million international request. We've added another $10 million. We have got something like nine patrol planes on the way and 12 C-130s loaded with relief supplies on the way and we'll make a continuing assessment to see what the need is.
The United States is not stingy. We are the greatest contributor to international relief efforts in the world. We do more to help people who are suffering from lack of food or poverty or suffering from HIV/AIDS, and this Administration has a particularly good record in increasing the amount of assistance that we give to the world. But obviously we have to see what the need is in this terrible tragedy and we will respond to the need along with the rest of the international community.
MS. COLLINS: I know you said yesterday in your press conference that there are eight Americans who have lost their lives in this, still many more unaccounted for. Do you have an update on any of those figures for us?
SECRETARY POWELL: The latest numbers we have are 11 Americans have lost their lives, a number have been wounded, and hundreds are yet unaccounted for. It doesn't mean that they have been lost or are injured, and we haven't found them in hospitals yet. We just haven't been able to run them all down because of difficult communications, and people are still checking in with our consular officers.
MS. COLLINS: Well, I imagine those people very desperately want to get home back to this country. Any idea how many are still just stranded there?
SECRETARY POWELL: I can't give you an answer to that, but obviously the airline schedules have been disrupted, transportation has been disrupted. But there are still hundreds, if not thousands, of tourists, not just American tourists but other tourists, who are trying to get home or trying to get in touch with their families.
MS. COLLINS: Well, I appreciate your answers on that. Let's go ahead and turn the corner, if we could now, Mr. Secretary. In talking about this new tape from Usama bin Laden that the CIA has said they're moderately confident of its authenticity, it seems to be endorsing Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi.
And if that is the case, what sort of increased power does that give Zarqawi?
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know. If it is Usama bin Laden -- and the CIA has not made a final judgment on that -- it certainly rhetorically puts them together. Whether it gives them any added strength or not in terms of resources, I can't answer. But it would rhetorically put them together and they are both of a like kind: terrorists, murderers. They're speaking out against the election at the end of January in Iraq because they don't want democracy, they don't want the Iraqi people to decide how they will be led. They want to take the Iraqi people back to the past, and that's why we must push forward, keep fighting this insurgency and move forward towards elections on the 30th of January, so that the Iraqi people get the opportunity to speak for themselves.
MS. COLLINS: Right. And as you mentioned, the elections coming up so quickly. Just yesterday, the leader of one of the largest Sunni organizations, the Iraqi Islamic Party, announced they're going to boycott these elections, citing some security concerns and so forth.
How big of a setback is that, or could it be, for the planned elections?
SECRETARY POWELL: It's a concern. They may change their mind and rejoin. We'll have to wait and see.
We're doing everything we can to improve the security in the Sunni areas. I don't think there's going to be a problem in most of the country in getting a good turnout. The problem is really in the Sunni area and that's a densely populated area so we want to get a good turnout there. And all of our coalition military efforts and Iraqi military and police efforts are going to be focusing on the Sunni area in the weeks ahead to get that turnout.
And we're encouraging Sunni leaders, especially Sunni leaders in neighboring countries, to encourage Sunni leaders in Iraq to get their people to come out and participate in this election. If they don't participate in this election, they're denying themselves the opportunity to speak for the future of their country and how they're going to be led and who their leaders are going to be.
MS. COLLINS: And whether they participate or not, the elections will go on January 30th?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, the elections will go on and we hope they will participate. And if the election goes well, then we will have a Transitional National Assembly that will reflect the will of the Iraqi people.
MS. COLLINS: Secretary of State Colin Powell talking with me just a little bit earlier today. For information on how to help with relief efforts for the tsunami, you can go to the State Department's website. You can see it at www.state.gov. And family members concerned about loved ones can call the State Department hotline. That number, 1-888-407-4747.
2004/1404 [End] Released on December 28, 2004
Posted by sookietex at 5:36 PM || ||
Interview on NBC's Today Show With Matt Lauer
Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC December 28, 2004 (7:08 a.m. EST)
MR. LAUER: Secretary Powell, good morning to you.
SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning, Matt. How are you?
MR. LAUER: I'm fine, thanks, but shaking my head at the numbers we're getting this morning, some 40,000 people now reported dead as a result of this Tsunami in South Asia over the weekend. I know the U.S. has pledged some $15 million in initial relief. Where do we go from here? What can we do?
SECRETARY POWELL: What we have to do, Matt, is make a careful assessment of what is needed. We have given $4 million right away to the International Federation of the Red Cross, the Red Crescent, another $10 million, which with other funds, brings it up to 15. We've dispatched nine patrol planes to the region from our Pacific Command and another dozen C-130s from our Pacific Command are hauling in supplies. We have disaster relief teams that are on the way in and we'll add to those teams as many people as necessary to make an assessment.
We'll also have to see what each country can do for itself and make sure that we apply the aid in those places where it is most desperately needed. Some countries, larger countries, are able to handle it better than smaller countries or countries that are less developed. Sri Lanka is the one that is hardest hit, is uppermost in my mind.
MR. LAUER: What direct requests have you received from the individual countries to date?
SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah, we've received direct requests from Sri Lanka, and we've received general requests from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. I've been in touch with Secretary General Kofi Annan, and I've been in touch with every one of the foreign ministers of the affected countries to let them know that they should make their requests known to our embassies so that we can respond.
MR. LAUER: The numbers I'm hearing, Secretary Powell, is this is going to cost billions -- you know, obviously, the human toll, most important right now -- but billions and billions of dollars. So is the United States prepared to go into that realm? Are we prepared to get into the billion dollar range?
SECRETARY POWELL: I can't answer that yet, Matt. We'll have to wait and see what the needs actually are. But clearly, the United States will be a major contributor to this international effort. And, yes, it will run into the billions of dollars. Villages have been wiped out, schools wiped out, business places wiped out, but it will take a while to make sure we have a good understanding of what the needs are.
MR. LAUER: What about organizations? I mean, so often after a major tragedy like this, relief pours in from so many different areas but it's not efficiently handled and so the people at most need don't get the benefit. Can we, can the U.S., contribute organizational expertise?
SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, we can. That's why we have sent in our disaster response teams, who have a great deal of experience in these kinds of catastrophes. And that's why the United Nations has organized itself so that there is a single point of contact up in the United Nations; and of course, each country is responsible for its own relief efforts and we are in touch with the relief agencies in those countries.
MR. LAUER: And I want to tell our viewers that at the end of this segment, Secretary Powell, I'm going to put a phone number up at the State Department, and also the website address of the State Department --
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you.
MR. LAUER: -- because so many people in this country have loved ones, relatives living in the impacted countries and want to get them information.
Let me turn to another subject in the news, the approaching elections in Iraq, now about 30 days away or so. And as you know, the insurgents in that country have stepped up their attacks and they seem to be targeting, I guess, targets that have something to do with the voting process. As a result, many of the Sunni Muslims in that country have said they'll sit this one out. Aren't we breaking in some ways one of the most basic promises we made to the Iraqi people a year and a half or so ago, that we would provide an atmosphere and security under which they could hold free elections?
SECRETARY POWELL: We're not breaking a promise. We're hard at work trying to make sure that that promise comes true. We're facing a determined insurgency led by people who don't want elections. They don't want to see the Iraqi people decide who their leaders are going to be. They want to go back to the past and we're not going to let that happen. And so, we're going to fight this insurgency with coalition forces, and increasingly with Iraqi military and police forces that are being built up under the leadership of General Petraeus.
Most of the country will be able to participate in the election, but the Sunni areas, where the insurgency is raging -- and that's where we have to focus our efforts -- most Iraqis, even in the Sunni areas, want to vote. They want to have a say in who their leaders are going to be. And that's why election officials are out working, polling places are being set up, registration is taking place.
And so, we're going to keep driving ahead at the request of the President of the Iraqi Interim Government and the prime minister, Prime Minister Allawi, to do everything we can to have this election on the 30th of June -- of January.
MR. LAUER: How do we figure it out though? If the elections take place and we see that the 20 percent of the Sunni population didn't receive what we probably guess would be the appropriate numbers of seats in the National Assembly, how do we know if it's because of fraud, fear or apathy?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, let's not prejudge the outcome. Let's wait and see what happens on the 30th of January. Let's give people the opportunity to vote. And we have 107 political entities who have, in one way or another, indicated desire to be a part of this process, and those voting lists have been prepared and the people will have a chance to make their choice among these 107 entities. And one entity has dropped out. I hope it will come back in before election day comes, and then we'll see where we are.
What we want is a government that is representative. We know that it will have a Shia majority. That's the majority of the population. One would expect that. But the Transitional Administrative Law that was written provides protections for the minorities -- the Sunnis and the Kurds and others, the smaller segments of the populations -- so that they will have a chance to participate in the National Assembly, the Transitional National Assembly.
MR. LAUER: Right.
SECRETARY POWELL: And we want a representative government.
MR. LAUER: In closing, you're going to be leaving your post at the State Department in the not-too-distant future. Some people are saying that as you leave, the last dissenting voice will leave this Administration. Two real quick parts of this: First of all, how much did your dissenting opinions contribute to your decision to leave the position of Secretary of State? And are you worried that in your absence there will be what some call a "group think" on major and serious policy issues?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I wouldn't characterize my views as being that of a dissenting voice. For the past four years, I worked closely with President Bush and the other members of this Administration to do many things in foreign policy where we all were in complete agreement, the overthrow of two dictatorships in Afghanistan and in Iraq.
I pressed to see if we could deal with the Iraq problem diplomatically, but recognizing that it might require force, and when force was decided upon I was a full participant in that decision and recognized what had to be done. We succeeded in helping India and Pakistan from getting into a war. We have created superb relations with the Chinese and we have good relations with Russia. We have increased foreign assistance by a significant amount.
So rather than being the dissenting voice, I was a full partner in this effort. Now that also included when I had disagreements or when I had a point of view that I wanted to be -- make sure that the President understood -- I make that point of view known.
MR. LAUER: And are you comfortable with the mix of opinions that there will be enough strong voices to do the same in your absence?
SECRETARY POWELL: I know the people who are taking over. They are all people of skills, particularly Dr. Rice, and I'm confident that her voice will be heard.
MR. LAUER: Well, let me just say, if we don't get a chance to speak before you leave your post, it's been a pleasure dealing with you over these last four years.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Matt. Happy New Year.
MR. LAUER: And thank you to you. And I want to put up that phone number right now for people who have loved ones and want more information on what's happened in South Asia. The number if 1-888-407-4747 or go to travel.state.gov on the internet.
Secretary Powell, thanks again.
Posted by sookietex at 5:32 PM || ||
Interview on CBS's Early Show With Harry Smith
Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC December 28, 2004 (7:08 a.m. EST)
MR. SMITH: The United States is sending supplies, disaster specialists and an initial $15 million in aid. Secretary of State Colin Powell made that announcement yesterday. Mr. Secretary, thanks for joining us this morning.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Harry. Good morning.
MR. SMITH: Well, we heard that number, $15 million, yesterday. I honestly thought that doesn't seem like very much money from the United States of America.
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, it's a start, Harry. In addition to the $15 million, we have nine P-3 reconnaissance planes on the way, another dozen C-130s are on the way with relief supplies, and so we'll be making an assessment as the days go by to see what the need really is and we'll adjust our plans accordingly. But this was an initial infusion of money to join the international relief effort.
MR. SMITH: Does it seem like there will be more forthcoming?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think a lot more aid is going to be needed. The extent of this catastrophe is really not yet fully known. What makes it such a unique event is the number of countries that were involved. I mean, from an earthquake just off the coast of Sumatra, this tsunami went across the Indian Ocean and hit the subcontinent and then continued across and hit the west -- the east coast of Africa. So the extent of damage is quite significant and the loss of life still is not yet fully tallied up. So I think more aid will be required from the international community, but we've got to get started, and that's what we're doing now.
MR. SMITH: There's a lot to talk about this morning. There's a new tape purportedly by Usama bin Laden, who's backing Zarqawi, the terrorist leader in Iraq, also calling for a boycott of the elections next month in Iraq.
Do you want to respond to that?
SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah, of course, they'll call for a boycott. The last thing they want to see is the Iraqi people stepping forward and deciding who would be their leaders. They don't want democracy. They want tyranny. They want to go back to the past of a Saddam Hussein type regime, and that's not going to happen. The Iraqi people want to vote for their leaders and we're moving forward to give them that opportunity on the 30th of January.
MR. SMITH: The security situation in Iraq is tenuous, at best. The Iraqi Islamist Party -- that's a big Sunni party -- backed out of the elections yesterday, said they're not boycotting but they're backing out of the elections, citing security as an example. We saw a terrorist attack at our own base in Mosul just a week ago.
Is there sufficient security in this country for an election to take place?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, in most of the country, yes, there is sufficient security for elections to take place. In the Sunni areas, the security isn't what we would like it to be, and that's what we're working on. That's what the coalition troops are working on and the Iraqi forces and Iraqi police forces are working on. And we hope that by the end of January people will feel secure enough, even in the Sunni areas, to step forward and vote.
I know that that one party said that they would not be participating, but let's wait and see. They may be back in the game before this is all over.
I think it's important for us not to step aside from the requirement in the UN resolution for this election to take place on the 30th of January. And the Iraqi people have clearly indicated they want an election, and the President and Prime Minister of the Iraqi Interim Government are determined to make that happen.
MR. SMITH: We've had these benchmarks before when Iraq became sovereign, now we have an election benchmark, and always there was there hope that soon thereafter things would get better in Iraq. Can you promise, or at least believe, that things will improve after the election at the end of January?
SECRETARY POWELL: What I can say is that after the election at the end of January you will have a government that is representative of the Iraqi people. They will have voted for that government. The insurgency will not end. These insurgents are determined to have no representative government. They want to go back to a tyranny. And so the insurgency will continue and the insurgency will have to be defeated by coalition forces, but increasingly the insurgency will be defeated and brought under control, if not completely defeated, by Iraqi forces that we are building up as rapidly as we can under the distinguished leadership of General Petraeus.
MR. SMITH: Mr. Secretary, we thank you for your time this morning.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Harry.
2004/1402 [End] Released on December 28, 2004
Posted by sookietex at 5:26 PM || ||
Interview on ABC's Good Morning America With Christopher Cuomo
Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC December 28, 2004 (7:07 a.m. EST)
MR. CUOMO: What is the latest information about the status of Americans in the area? And how much is the U.S. doing to help?
SECRETARY POWELL: As best we know right now, 11 Americans have lost their lives, but there are still hundreds of Americans who are unaccounted for and we're doing everything we can to locate them and determine their status. The United States made an initial contribution of some $15 million, $4 million right away to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, and another $10 million of assistance to non-governmental and other organizations. In addition, our military authorities in Hawaii have launched nine patrol planes, and another dozen or so C-130s carrying relief supplies.
We'll make an assessment as the days go by to see what else may be needed from us. This is a massive catastrophe. So many countries were struck by this Tsunami. It's rather unprecedented and it will take us a while to make a careful assessment of what is needed, and then we will work with the international community to provide what is needed.
MR. CUOMO: That said, the top United Nations' relief official has said that rich countries like the United States are stingy. You said, we'll do everything we can. Given how rich we are, can't we do more than the few million we have put up so far? Shouldn't we do more?
SECRETARY POWELL: We will do more. I wish that comment hadn't been made. I mean, the world is now responding to this catastrophe. The United States has given more aid in the last four years than any other nation or combination of nations in the world. We had a significant increase in our development assistance and other kinds of assistance and we will do more, but we're still getting an assessment of what is needed and it will take time for that assessment to be made, to see what nations can do for themselves, to see what the specific needs are, and then we'll respond to those needs.
MR. CUOMO: Moving on to another subject, Mr. Secretary. You're aware that many in Iraq believe that January 30th is simply too soon to hold an election, such a security-sensitive event. That being the case, does the Administration have a plan in place if the election is disrupted?
SECRETARY POWELL: Many people might believe that, but I believe most people feel that it is time to have this election. It is an election that is mandated by the United Nations Security Council resolution that set this up. The President and the Prime Minister of the interim government of Iraq want to move forward, and I think people want to have an elected government.
And so, there are security concerns, principally, in the Sunni areas. Most of the country, I think, is ready for an election. What we have to do is concentrate our coalition forces and Iraqi forces, police forces, on the Sunni part of the country in order to create conditions that will allow people to feel comfortable in coming out and registering and participating in the vote.
We're also talking to our friends in the region, the neighboring countries, for them to talk to Sunni leaders and encourage Sunni leaders to get their people to come out and vote, even if there is an element of danger associated with it. This is not the time to let the tyrants and the terrorists take us back to the past, to the days of a Saddam Hussein-type regime. The people of Iraq want their own freely elected government.
MR. CUOMO: Mr. Secretary, one of New York's favorite sons is going to push the button that brings down the big ball right here in Times Square on New Year's Eve. At once, you'll be beginning a new year and ending an era, effectively, as Secretary. As you've said, you plan to leave early next year. Any idea what your emotions will be that night?
SECRETARY POWELL: I've never been to Times Square on New Year's Eve, even though I'm a born and raised New Yorker, and I cannot tell you how honored I am to have been selected to do this and it's going to be so good to be home with millions of people celebrating a new year, millions of people who believe in their city, who believe in their country. And I think I'm just going to be a kid again on New Year's Eve, as I push that button.
MR. CUOMO: Thank you very much for coming on the show and have a Happy New Year, Mr. Secretary.
SECRETARY POWELL: Same to you, Chris.
2004/1405 [End] Released on December 28, 2004
Posted by sookietex at 5:22 PM || ||
Monday, December 27, 2004
U.S. Department of DefenseOffice of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)News Release On the Web: defenselink.mil/releases/ Media contact: Navy Public Affairs -(703) 697-5342 Public contact: dod.mil/faq/comment or +1 (703) 428-0711 +1 No. 1321-04 IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 27, 2004
DoD Identifies Navy Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Chief Joel Egan Baldwin, 37, of Arlington, Va., died in Mosul, Iraq on Dec. 21, when the dining facility was attacked.
Baldwin was assigned to Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 77, Gulfport, Miss.
For further information related to this release, contact Navy Public Affairs at (703) 697-5342.
Posted by sookietex at 6:28 PM || ||