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LOSING OUR SOVEREIGNTY WITH LOST

If Americans have learned anything about the United Nations over the last 50 years, it is that this "world body" is, at best, riddled with corruption and incompetence. At worst, its bureaucracy, agencies and members are overwhelmingly hostile to the United States and other freedom-loving nations, most especially Israel.

So why on earth would the United States Senate possibly consider putting the U.N. on steroids by assenting to its control of 70% of the world's surface?

Such a step would seem especially improbable given such well-documented fiascoes as: the U.N.-administered Iraq Oil-for-Food program; investigations and cover-ups of corrupt practices at the organization's highest levels; child sex-slave operations and rape squads run by U.N. peacekeepers; and the absurd, yet relentless, assault on alleged Israeli abuses of human rights by majorities led by despotic regimes in Iran, Cuba, Syria and Libya.

Nonetheless, the predictable effect of U.S. accession to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea – better known as the Law of the Sea Treaty (or LOST) – would be to transform the U.N. from a nuisance and laughingstock into a world government:

The United States would confer upon a U.N. agency called the International Seabed Authority (IA) the right to dictate what is done on, in, under, and possibly above the world's oceans. Doing so, America would become party to surrender of immense resources of the seas and what lies beneath them to the dictates of unaccountable, nontransparent multinational organizations, tribunals and bureaucrats.

LOST's most determined proponents have always been the One-Worlders – members of the World Federalists Association (now dubbed Citizens for Global Solutions) and like-minded advocates of supranational government. They have made no secret of their ambition to use the Law of the Sea Treaty as a kind of "constitution of the oceans" and prototype for what they want to do on land, as well.

Specifically, the transnationalists (or Tranzies) understand LOST would set a precedent for diminishing, and ultimately eliminating, sovereign nations. It would establish the superiority of international mechanisms for managing not just "the common heritage of mankind," but everything that could affect it.

In the case of LOST, such a supranational arrangement is particularly enabled by the treaty's sweeping environmental obligations. State parties promise to "protect and preserve the marine environment." Since onshore activities – from air pollution to runoff that makes its way into a given nation's internal waters – can ultimately affect the oceans, however, the U.N.'s big power grab would also allow it to exercise authority over land-based actions of heretofore sovereign nations.

Unfortunately, the Senate has been misled on this point by the Bush administration. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte claimed in testimony before the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee last Thursday that the treaty has "no jurisdiction over marine pollution disputes involving land-based sources." He insisted, "That's just not covered by the treaty."

Worse yet, State Department Legal Adviser John Bellinger, said, "[LOST] clearly does not allow regulation over land-based pollution sources. That would stop at the water's edge."

Thank goodness for Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana Republican, who caustically observed, if that were true, "Why is there a [LOST] section entitled 'Pollution from Land-Based sources?' " He went on to note there is not only a section by that name, but a subsequent section on enforcement concerning land-based pollution.

Few senators have more immediate reason to worry about LOST's dire implications for our sovereignty than Mr. Vitter and his Democratic colleague, Mary Landrieu. It is inconceivable that their state's crown jewel, New Orleans, would be in business today – even in its diminished, post-Katrina condition – had the United States been subject to this Treaty when that devastating hurricane hit Louisiana and Mississippi.

Enforcement of the unprecedented commitment not to pollute the marine environment can be compelled via LOST's mandatory dispute resolution mechanisms. The U.N.'s Law of the Sea Tribunal is empowered to "prescribe any provisional measures" in order "to prevent serious harm to the marine environment." States parties are required to "comply promptly with any [such] provisional measures."

Surely, the sovereign act taken in an emergency situation – which dumped into the Gulf of Mexico vast quantities of toxic waste that had accumulated in Lake Pontchartrain after Katrina – would have been enjoined in this manner. Does any senator want to assure such interference in our internal affairs in the future?

Scarcely more appetizing is LOST's empowering of a U.N. agency to impose what amount to international taxes. To provide such an entity with a self-financing mechanism and the authority to distribute the ocean's wealth in ways that suit the majority of its members and its international bureaucracy is a formula for unaccountability and corruption on an unprecedented scale.

To date, the full malevolent potential of the Law of the Sea Treaty has been more in prospect than in evidence. If the United States accedes to LOST, however, it is predictable that the treaty's agencies will:

Wield their powers in ways that will prove very harmful to American interests; intensify the web of sovereignty-sapping obligations and regulations promulgated by this and other U.N. entities; and advance inexorably the emergence of supranational world government.

Twenty-five years ago, President Ronald Reagan declined to submit our sovereignty to the United Nations and rejected the Law of the Sea Treaty. If anything, there are even more compelling reasons today to prevent the U.N.'s big power grab.

There's not much time, for the Senate vote will be within two weeks.  I urge you to call both of your Senators today and plead with them to read the text of the treaty themselves.  Most Senators haven't even read it, depending on what their staffers and "experts" tell them it says instead.  Once they actually read it, they should be far more likely to vote to reject LOST. 

Frank Gaffney is president of the Center for Security Policy and a participant in the Coalition to Preserve American Sovereignty (www.RejectLOST.org.) 

Note by JW:  This issue is so critical I am appending below Senator James Inhofe's remarks on the Senate floor regarding LOST:

SENATE FLOOR REMARKS ON THE LAW OF THE SEA TREATY

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), October 4, 2007

Last Thursday (9/27), the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the Law of the Sea Treaty, and will hold another this Thursday (10/11).  As Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I held a hearing in March 2004 on the treaty, and we were able to have some open discussion and debate. As the Senate again begins to consider this treaty, it will be important for my colleagues to understand the real dangers it poses to American sovereignty and security.

Proponents of the ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty, or LOST, will tell you the treaty will be a great asset to the military by allowing our Navy the freedom of movement to and from any point on and under the ocean, unencumbered by the need to send requests to foreign governments for permission to enter territorial waters or to pass through straights. 

While LOST does maintain that this is true, it is subject to several caveats.   Under the terms of the treaty, our naval warships must pass by the coast and not engage in any type of exercise, ground all aircraft, and negate the use of any defensive devices. 

The issue of passage not only applies to ships but also to aircraft both commercial and military.  LOST regulates the activities of aircraft over territorial waters and over straights.  This is particularly disturbing because a treaty that is intended to govern the sea has now reached out to control airspace over the seas. 

Another issue of concern is the effect of LOST on the President's Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), which is designed to combat the transfer of weapons of mass destruction.  Advocates of the treaty assure us that LOST in no way damages the effectiveness of PSI because countries that want to participate in these open ocean inspections, to assure that nuclear weapons are not being traded illegally, voluntarily sign onto the President's PSI agreement. 

However, under LOST, boarding a vessel is allowed only if it is suspected of piracy, engaging in slave trade, unauthorized broadcasting, or is not showing or is not willing to reveal its nationality.  Taken literally, as most countries will, a U.S. warship would not be allowed to stop a vessel with a shipment of nuclear energy materials if it is flying a state flag on purportedly legitimate business. 

LOST also creates a governing body known as the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to organize and control activities on the deep ocean floor in areas beyond national jurisdiction.  The ISA would regulate 70% of the Earth's surface-placing seabed mining, fishing rights, and oil exploration under control of a global bureaucracy.

The ISA has the power to levy a global tax that would be paid directly to the ISA by companies seeking to mine the world's oceans.  LOST also creates a new global tax court to settle disputes that arise under the treaty.  This is an unprecedented action – the collection of taxes by an international body to fund its own research, as well as to redistribute the world's wealth to developing nations.

Let me further describe how the ISA would regulate development.  In order to be granted mining rights by the ISA, the applicant must submit detailed plans and exploration research information along with annual fees in the millions of dollars. Additionally under LOST, should there be disputes among companies, American businesses that conduct deep seabed mining operations could find themselves subject to an international court system that would hold them accountable and liable for any infractions. 

LOST is a dangerous treaty that we need to reject.  This treaty hampers the operations of the Navy and it has the potential to hamper the efforts of PSI.  It would allow foreign vessels and warships passage rights into our territorial waters.  It creates regulation and taxation by an international body, and it presents a legal danger for American businesses through exposure to the international court system. 

These are only a few examples of the issues I have with the Law of the Sea Treaty, and I believe they highlight the fact that the Senate should not rush to accept it.  Instead, I would suggest that other committees of the Senate with jurisdiction over such issues as taxation, trade, resource development, and national security, conduct hearings into these issues so that Senators and the American public are fully aware of the implications of joining this treaty.