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This UABA Blog page provides information and commentary on issues that are relevant to the organization and its members. Although the blogs are public, comments can only be made by members. If yoiu wish to join the discussion, you are welcome to become a member.

The comments expressed on these blogs represent the opinions of the authors and not that of the UABA.

  • 12 Jan 2017 6:22 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Jan. 11, 2017 Senate Hearings on the Nomination of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State

    Video: Sen. Menendez Questions Rex Tillerson at Confirmation Hearing
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuh_vfr4IU8&t=103s

    Video: Sen. Marco Rubio questions Rex Tillerson
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6X38k0cND64

    Video:  Full examination of Rex Tillerson
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgXz8W9tHwo&t=85s


  • 11 Jan 2017 12:37 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    US lashes out at Russia at UN — and Russia goes after Obama

    Associated Press | Published: January 10, 2017

    UNITED NATIONS — U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power, in one of her last appearances at the U.N. Security Council, lashed out at Russia on Tuesday for invading and annexing Ukraine's Crimea peninsula and carrying out "a merciless military assault" in Syria.

    Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin shot back by accusing the Obama administration of "desperately" looking for scapegoats for its own failures in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

    The bitter and biting exchanges came during a council meeting after new U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said preventing conflicts and sustaining peace are his top priorities and urged all countries to support those goals.Детальніше-

    Read More

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  • 10 Jan 2017 10:34 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Senate Pushes for More Russian Sanctions in Bipartisan Legislation

    Tuesday, one day before confirmation hearings for a key chunk of President-elect Donald Trump’s national security nominees, top lawmakers from both sides of the aisle said they would introduce new legislation to punish Russia for meddling in the election, as well as its aggressive behavior in Ukraine and Syria.

    An aide to Sen. Ben Cardin (D.-Md.), one of the sponsors of the bill, said that after the public release last week of the intelligence community’s assessment of Russian interference in the U.S. election “he felt now was the time to introduce” the legislation. Read FP article

    View Press conference


  • 10 Jan 2017 11:58 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Chrystia Freeland will be appointed Canada's new foreign affairs minister in a sweeping Liberal cabinet shakeup to be announced later today, CBC News has learned.

    Freeland will replace Stéphane Dion, who is leaving politics to take a diplomatic post.

    http://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/politics/chrystia-freeland-becomes-foreign-minister-as-trudeau-shuffles-cabinet/ar-BBy7gfZ?ocid=se

  • 10 Jan 2017 8:50 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Keep America’s Word Again—and Protect Ukraine

    Clinton made assurances when Kiev gave up nukes. Then Obama broke faith. Trump can restore it.

    ROBERT MCCONNELL

    Wall Street Journal  Opinion/Commentary 

    Does “making America great again” include living up to the country’s commitments to other nations? Senators should put that question to Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson at his confirmation hearing Wednesday—especially with regard to Ukraine, which gave up its nuclear weapons in the 1990s in exchange for assurances that the U.S. has failed to meet.

    More than 90% of Ukrainians voted for independence in a December 1991 referendum; it was the only former Soviet republic to condition its independence on a vote of its citizens. Independence would have left Ukraine with the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal, but leaders in Kiev did not wish to be a nuclear-armed state. The parliamentary declaration of independence, which the voters approved, included a provision that Ukraine would be “nuclear free.” Thus the people of Ukraine voted for a nuclear-free state.

    In several little-known 1992 meetings in Washington, Ukraine expressed its desire to turn over its nuclear arsenal to the U.S. But the State Department took the position that Ukraine must ship its weapons to Russia, the last country Ukraine wanted to arm. Given no alternative, Ukraine sought security guarantees.

    Presidents Bill Clinton,Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kravchuk signed the January 1994 U.S.-Russia-Ukraine Trilateral Statement and Annex, which set the framework for protecting Ukraine’s security in exchange for its surrendering its arsenal. Negotiations continued throughout that year. Ukraine did not easily deliver its nuclear weapons to a state it feared would turn aggressive against it.

    In December 1994, Ukraine acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon state, and the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom signed the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances. The three other signatories promised to respect the independence, sovereignty and existing borders of Ukraine and to refrain from threatening or using force or economic coercion against Ukraine’s territory or political independence.

    The assurances were tested in 1995. Yuriy Meshkov, a Russian-backed official in Crimea, took over the regional government and sought to establish independent Crimean representation in Washington. Mr. Clinton called Boris Yeltsin and—citing the Helsinki Final Act, the United Nations Charter, the Trilateral Agreement of January 1994 and the Budapest Memorandum—said the takeover in Crimea could not stand.

    Mr. Clinton also sent the U.S. ambassador to Kiev, William Miller, to the Crimean capital of Simferopol to tell Mr. Meshkov the U.S. would not recognize his actions, and to the port city of Sevastopol with the same message for Adm. Eduard Baltin, commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Yeltsin withdrew support and Mr. Meshkov’s “government” collapsed. In 1995 Washington kept its word to Ukraine.

    But in 2014 Russia invaded Crimea, which it continues to occupy. Moscow instigated and has supported military aggression against Ukraine’s Donbas region. More than 10,000 Ukrainians have been killed and many more thousands wounded; over a million have been displaced. Curiously, Mr. Clinton has not spoken about the promises of the Budapest Memorandum. Russia fosters subversive efforts throughout Ukraine and its propaganda machine misrepresents reality undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty—the sovereignty the U.S. promised to protect.America eventually imposed sanctions and has provided supplies—non-lethal support—and loan guarantees, among other assistance.

     But the help has been far from sufficient to turn back Russian aggression. The U.S. has urged but not participated directly in the Minsk agreements, an attempt to end Russia’s war against Ukraine.

    But there is no need for Minsk. The American government should acknowledge Russia’s clear violations of international law, the Trilateral Agreement and the Budapest Memorandum and honor America’s assurance of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

    It has been said the Budapest Memorandum’s “assurances” are not “guarantees.” That argument should be beneath a great nation. If “assurances” are not “guarantees,” what are they? What was President Clinton committing to on behalf of the United States? Was Ukraine misled? During negotiations the Ukrainian translator, Walter Sulzysnky, made clear to the other parties that in Ukrainian there is no translatable distinction between “assurance” and “guarantee.” Everyone knew the Ukrainians understood “assurances” as “guarantees.”

    Congress has repeatedly passed legislation giving the president authority to be far more supportive of Ukraine than the Obama administration has been willing to be. President-elect Trump and Secretary-designate Tillerson have an opportunity, and an obligation, to live up to the U.S. commitments to Ukraine—to keep America’s word again.

    —Mr. McConnell, co-founder of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, served as assistant attorney general during the Reagan administration.


  • 08 Jan 2017 3:04 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    How We Fool Ourselves On Russia

    WILLIAM BURNS NY Times OP ED

    In the quarter-century since the end of the Cold War, profound grievances, misperceptions and disappointments have often defined the relationship between the United States and Russia. I lived through this turbulence during my years as a diplomat in Moscow, navigating the curious mix of hope and humiliation that I remember so vividly in the Russia of Boris N. Yeltsin, and the pugnacity and raw ambition of Vladimir V. Putin’s Kremlin. And I lived through it in Washington, serving both Republican and Democratic administrations.
    .......
    [We should] stay sharply focused on Ukraine, a country whose fate will be critical to the future of Europe, and Russia, over the next generation. This is not about NATO or European Union membership, both distant aspirations. It is about helping Ukrainian leaders build the successful political system that Russia seeks to subvert.
    Детальніше-Read More

  • 08 Jan 2017 2:51 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Russian Hacking Report:  

    Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution

    Read full report 


  • 21 Sep 2016 12:56 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Ukraine files multiple lawsuits against Russia

    Ukraine is claiming about $67 billion in lost assets.

    KYIV – From Paris to Strasbourg, and Stockholm to London, Ukraine is amassing lawsuits and other legal claims against Russia while stepping up diplomatic efforts to further ostracize its belligerent neighbor. Earlier this month, Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko said Kyiv is preparing cases against about 20 Russian officials and generals at The Hague’s International Criminal Court for annexing Crimea and waging war in eastern Ukraine that has entered its third year and killed nearly 10,000 people. Ukrainian Weekly Read More


  • 15 Sep 2016 1:42 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Bar mitzvah party-flasher case: Arizona yoga instructor Lindsey Ann Radomski found not guilty of indecency

    Hon. Judge Orest Jejna presiding;

    Lindsey Ann Radomski, the Scottsdale yoga instructor accused of indecent acts with boys at a bar mitzvah party, has been found not guilty on all counts.

    Radomski, who was 32 in March, 2015, when the party occurred, was accused in misdemeanor counts of flashing her newly enhanced breasts to seven boys, ranging in age from 11 to 15, letting them fondle them and of administering oral sex to one of the boys.  Washington Post; Verdict Video


  • 07 Sep 2016 10:53 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    The Good, Bad And Plausible Points Of Trump's Immigration Plan
    Andy Semotiuk, Forbes

    In a speech in Arizona last night, Donald Trump laid out his vision for a new U.S. immigration policy. Having met with Mexican President Peña Nieto earlier that day, Trump returned to the United States to give his address to an enthusiastic crowd. Included at the meeting were family members of Americans who were killed by illegal immigrants who all vowed allegiance to the Presidential candidate at the end of his remarks. This was Trump’s first attempt to set out a complete outline of the immigration policies he would pursue were he elected President of the United States. Let’s take a look at his ten-point plan and how well he did.

    1. Build a wall and have Mexico pay for it.
    Aside from the practicality of the wall and its cost, $ 8 billion according to one estimate, will the wall stop illegal immigration?  Apart from flying over it, tunneling under it and bypassing around the wall, America’s Maginot line will fail in the same way the first Maginot line did. Ask French military historians about that one. Also, consider the economic impairment to trade with Mexico that the wall would create which would significantly impact the lives of millions of people living on both sides of the border. Ask economists about this.
    Grade: Fail. Not a fix that will work. Yes, the lights are flashing, the bells are ringing and the gate is up.  But there is no train.

    2. Stop the policy of catch and release illegal immigrants coming into the country.
    There is no catch and release policy. George Bush Jr. abolished that one. There is catch and detain or catch and return policy now. Could the country do better on these? Yes.
    Grade: Pass. Something worthy of improvement.

    3. Zero tolerance for criminal aliens.
    This is pretty much the policy right now. Criminality is the priority in removal proceedings. Could we do better? Yes.
    Grade: Pass. Something worthy of improvement.

    4. Block funding for sanctuary cities
    Runs right into Fourth Amendment protection from arbitrary arrest. Should law enforcement cooperate to make the law work for everyone? Yes. Are sanctuary cities about protecting illegal criminals? No. They are about police enforcement of the law based on due process. Due process is the key concern. Too controversial for a simple comment – but not exactly a brilliant innovation.
    Grade: Fail for lack of sufficient analysis.

    5. Cancel unconstitutional executive orders and enforce all immigration laws
    Yes. But the Obama executive orders may very well be constitutional. Enforcement of immigration laws universally requires unlimited resources. We don’t have unlimited resources, so we need to priorize.
    Grade: Fail for purposeful misrepresentation of facts.

    6. Suspend visas to countries where adequate screening cannot occur.
    Assumes current immigration practice is to allow unscreened immigrants into the United States. That’s not the current practice. As for ideological screening, that is a mission impossible – nobody who is terrorist or enemy of the United States and wants to come here is going to disclose that U.S. immigration officials. Ask the Simon Wiesenthal center about that.
    Grade: Fail for lack of sufficient analysis.

    7. Return criminals back to their countries of citizenship
    Needs refinement but nobody disagrees with that idea. Stopping issuing visas to countries that refuse the return of their citizens is a possible way of getting over this problem.
    Grade: Pass

    8. Complete biometric entry-exit tracking
    Agreed.
    Grade: Pass

    9. Turn off the jobs and benefits magnet
    Expanding E-verify will help in this regard, particularly where employers seeking federal contracts or benefits are required to implement electronic registration of workers under E-verify.
    Grade: Pass

    10. Reform existing immigration rules
    Doable, but requires Congressional agreement.
    Grade: Pass

    Overall report card:
    Trump gets high marks for his exuberance and for bringing the problems of immigration to the attention of the electorate and making it a priority in the Presidential election. We should be thankful for that. However, he is often simply not honest in his remarks about facts. For example he failed to admit that he talked with Mexican President Peña Nieto about whether building the wall on the Mexican border was a subject of their discussions. Another example was his recent television interview with George Stephanopoulos where he denied that Russia had invaded Crimea in Ukraine. His failure to acknowledge such obvious facts is a painful shortcoming that undermines his credibility in discussions about immigration and indeed other issues. In the absence of such open honesty, Donald Trump is on a voyage to the bottom of the sea

    Andy J. Semotiuk is a U.S. and Canadian immigration lawyer with offices in New York and Toronto. He is a published author and a former UN correspondent. Learn more at My Work Visa. 

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