Thursday, November 1, 2007

Senate near passage of the Law of the Sea Treaty and Bush will sign it

The Law of the Sea Treaty (‘LOST’) which will grant the U.N. control of the 70 percent of the planet under its oceans; has been approved by a senate committee and is now headed to the full Senate for ratification.

Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., has said. "I am absolutely convinced it undermines U.S. sovereignty." A two-thirds vote is required for approval; so we can only hope there are at least 34 senators who will read it and reject the treaty.

LOST first came up in 1982 as an attempt to establish a comprehensive legal system for the UN to control the oceans and their resources. President Ronald Reagan refused to sign LOST because he realized that the treaty was against U.S. interests.

However President Clinton signed a revised version of the treaty in 1994 and sent it to the Senate. The Republican senate was not in favor of the 1994 changes and action on the treaty has been deferred ever since.

The Heritage Foundation warns the treaty would have unintended consequences for U.S. interests – including a threat to sovereignty. The Heritage Foundation also says the treaty is loaded with potential for corruption. The LOST bureaucracy is called the International Seabed Authority Secretariat, “which has a strong incentive to enhance its own authority at the expense of state sovereignty."

"For example, this treaty would impose taxes on U.S. companies engaged in extracting resources from the ocean floor," said Heritage fellows Baker Spring and Brett D. Schaefer. "This would give the UN an independent revenue stream that would remove a key check on its authority. After all, once a bureaucracy has its own source of funding, it needs answer only to itself."

"The United States should be wary of joining sweeping multilateral treaties negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations," say Spring and Schaefer of Heritage. "Specifically, the benefit to U.S. national interests should be indisputable and clearly outweigh the predictable negative consequences of ratification."

In my opinion the treaty clearly does neither. I believe the treaty will be used as a back-door to implement policies against global warming without any accountability to the American people. Furthermore parts of the treaty require international regulation of U.S. economic and industrial activities even on land.

Bush administration representatives at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing recently were repeatedly embarrassed by questioning from Sen. David Vitter, R-La., who also has led opposition to ratification. For instance, Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte testified the U.N. body established by the treaty has "no jurisdiction over marine pollution disputes involving land-based sources" yet there is a section entitled pollution from land-based sources. Another issue is who decides what is considered military activity under the treaty. "We will decide that. We consider that within our sovereign prerogative," said Negroponte; but the treaty does not say that, it says an arbitral body decides that question. "We say it is up to us, but nobody else in the world says it is up to us," Vitter said. Negroponte conceded the point.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said the United States has special military and commercial interests as the world’s only superpower, interests that the treaty did not take into account. He said many of the concerns over loss of national sovereignty that surfaced in the recent debate over immigration reform were surfacing once again in the Law of the Sea Treaty debate.

After being shelved by a Republican Senate, President Bush announced his intention to seek reintroduction of LOST for ratification to a small group of Republicans but the announcement was met with anger. Eagle Forum leader Phyllis Schlafly, Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney, Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell, Free Congress Foundation founder Paul Weyrich and leaders of the Heritage Foundation all denounced the idea forcefully and asked their members to begin lobbying the White House immediately.

LOST would also establish rules governing the uses of the of the world's oceans and considers waters more than 200 nautical miles off coasts as within the purview of a new international U.N.’s International Seabed Authority. The ISA would have the authority to set production controls for ocean mining, drilling and fishing, regulate ocean exploration, issue permits and settle disputes in its own new "court." Companies seeking to mine or fish would be required to apply for a permit and pay a royalty fee. Moreover, the U.N. agency would also have the right to compete directly with private companies. The U.S. would have only one vote of well over 100 and no veto power as it has on the U.N. Security Council.

The Bush administration claims the initiative for reintroduction of the treaty comes from the military, which likes the 12-mile territorial limits it places on national claims to waters. However international law already protects non-aggressive passage, including non-wartime activities of military ships so this makes no sense. Furthermore we have jurisdiction over miles of ocean off our coasts now; we don't need a treaty to establish that.

One of the main authors of LOST, Elizabeth Mann Borgese, not only admired Karl Marx but was an ardent advocate of the Marxist-oriented New International Economic Order. Borgese was praised by her U.N. supporters as the "Mother of the Oceans" or "First Lady of the Oceans." In an article Borgese wrote that LOST stipulates that the oceans "shall be reserved for peaceful purposes" and that "any threat or use of force, inconsistent with the United Nations Charter, is prohibited." Clearly this would limit the United State’s ability to defend itself against enemies. For example, Borgese argued LOST prohibits the ability of nuclear submarines from the U.S. and other nations to rove freely through the world's oceans.

Once again, Bush has been misled into undermining American sovereignty and we all fall victim to Democrat anti-Americanism, with the help of ignorant RINOs.

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