Pray for Ukraine

3A-Pray-for-Ukraine-pic-24-pwide-bw

Taken in October 2014, this photo appeared in the Lawton Constitution newspaper.  It depicts Snyder, Oklahoma residents Gerald Schulz and Erick Speck after having returned from a trip to the Ukraine.

Today on my way back from prison (at the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite, OK) I saw the sign across from the gas station on the north end of Snyder.  I don’t often go that route, but today I did and I needed to stop for gas.  As you can see, the sign is not overly large.  Not that the sign is not visible, but I can say that I did not see it until after I had already stopped across Highway 183.

More recently, Erick Speck returned to the Ukraine delivering knives to help the people of Ukraine to aid in their current struggle with Russia.  Mr. Speck even delivered a custom made knife from Texas to the President of the Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko in Kiev.  This knife carried an inscription from Winston Churchill which read:  “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”

For me, the sign carries the subtle reminder that we need to continue to pray for people around the world in great turmoil,  including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Libya, Nigeria…..and safety for those deployed.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

There is a saying:  “Pray as if everything depends on God. Act as if everything depends on you.”   It is attributed to Augustine of Hippo (“Saint Augustine”) but it also appears in Reform Judaism’s Gates of Prayer siddur.  Clearly this adage cuts across faith groups.

So, Pray….and Act.  Whether bringing knives to Ukraine’s gunfight is enough to help, I don’t know.  But, it is a symbolic gesture….an act of Solidarity.

Solidarnosc

May be you blessed in your prayers and acts.

Foreign Influence

Uranium One

Prior to the mid-1990s, one of the security questions asked of candidates for security clearances was whether or not the individual had *ever* used illicit drugs. Ever.  An affirmative answer to this question constituted grounds for denial of a security clearance. This changed, however, during the early years of the Clinton administration. The change? The illicit drugs question changed from “have you ever?” to “within the previous seven years?”
If you recall, this was the era of President Clinton’s plausible deniability: “I didn’t inhale.” I was told (but I can neither confirm nor deny) that the illicit drugs change was made to allow the new President’s administration to be granted security clearances.
Speaking of former President Clinton, here are the adjudication guidelines for determining eligibility for access to classified information with regard to foreign influence.  I happen to think this is fascinating reading, but you may find it a bit dry.

Code of Federal Regulations (annual edition)
Title 32 – National Defense
Subtitle A – Department of Defense
Chapter I – OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
Subchapter C – PERSONNEL, MILITARY AND CIVILIAN
Part 147 – ADJUDICATIVE GUIDELINES FOR DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY FOR ACCESS TO CLASSIFIED INFORMATION
Subpart A – Adjudication
Section 147.4 – Guideline B-Foreign influence
July 1, 2002
Foreign influence.

(a) The concern.

A security risk may exist when an individual’s immediate family, including cohabitants and other persons to whom he or she may be bound by affection, influence, or obligation are not citizens of the United States or may be subject to duress. These situations could create the potential for foreign influence that could result in the compromise of classified information. Contacts with citizens of other countries or financial interests in other countries are also relevant to security determinations if they make an individual potentially vulnerable to coercion, exploitation, or pressure.

(b) Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying include:

(1) An immediate family member, or a person to whom the individual has close ties of affection or obligation, is a citizen of, or resident or present in, a foreign country;
(2) Sharing living quarters with a person or persons, regardless of their
citizenship status, if the potential for adverse foreign influence or duress exists;
(3) Relatives, cohabitants, or associates who are connected with any foreign government;
(4) Failing to report, where required, associations with foreign nationals;
(5) Unauthorized association with a suspected or known collaborator or employee of a foreign intelligence service;
(6) Conduct which may make the individual vulnerable to coercion, exploitation, or pressure by a foreign government;
(7) Indications that representatives or nationals from a foreign country are acting to increase the vulnerability of the individual to possible future exploitation, coercion or pressure;
(8) A substantial financial interest in a country, or in any foreign owned or operated business that could make the individual vulnerable to foreign influence.

(c) Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include:

(1) A determination that the immediate family member(s) (spouse, father, mother, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters), cohabitant, or associate(s) in question are not agents of a foreign power or in a position to be exploited by a foreign power in a way that could force the individual to choose between loyalty to the person(s) involved and the United States;
(2) Contacts with foreign citizens are the result of official United States Government business;
(3) Contact and correspondence with foreign citizens are casual and infrequent;
(4) The individual has promptly complied with existing agency requirements regarding the reporting of contacts, requests, or threats from persons or organizations from a foreign country;
(5) Foreign financial interests are minimal and not sufficient to affect the individual’s security responsibilities.

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Now, according to the New York Times, here is a timeline of some of the donations to the Clinton Foundation in the article “Donations to the Clinton Foundation, and a Russian Uranium Takeover.”

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/04/23/us/clinton-foundation-donations-uranium-investors.html
“Uranium investors’ efforts to buy mining assets in Kazakhstan and the United States led to a takeover bid by a Russian state-owned energy company. The investors gave millions to the Clinton Foundation over the same period, while Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s office was involved with approving the Russian bid.”
Here are some sections of that NY Times graphic:

NYT_Timeline1

NYT_Timeline2

Were the $31.3M + $8.65M in donations to the Clinton Foundation, followed by the $500K directly to former President Clinton part of a quid pro quo for Mrs. Clinton’s State Department’s vote allowing a Russian state-owned energy company to get control of significant Unites States uranium reserves?

I have to admit:  I do find the Uranium One’s motto to be darkly humorous.  “Investing in our energy.”  Think about it.
Could Mrs. Clinton receive a security clearance? Much of the security investigator’s work has already been done. Reading through the adjudication guidelines on foreign influence, and keeping in mind the high volume of donations to the Foundation and direct payments to the former president, there seems to be enough smoke there to cause further, detailed investigation. If the Clintons and their associates refuse to answer the questions…..or the answers are full of evasion and attempted subterfuge, I think there would be grounds for an unfavorable security determination. Well, if the surname was not “Clinton,” of course…..