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Spinal-vacuous disorder hits U.S. Senate

By Henry Lamb
web posted October 15, 2007

Call your Senators (202) 224-3121) and ask each of them for their position on the Convention on the Law of the Sea.  Ten-to-one says that a young, well- tutored voice will say something like: "we don't have a statement on that," or "the Senator has not taken a position yet," or the Senator is still studying the issues."

What happened to: "he opposes it," or, "he supports it?"                                         

This Convention on the Law of the Sea has been kicking around since Ronald Reagan kicked it out of his administration.  Bill Clinton had the treaty reworked, and asked the Senate to ratify it.  The Republican Senate refused.  George Bush asked the Senate to ratify it during his first term; the Senate refused.  Now, the administration is again pushing for ratification.   Any Senator who has not yet decided whether to support or oppose this treaty should not be in Washington. 

Senators refuse to take a public position as long as possible because every controversial decision makes at least as many enemies as friends.  The mealy-mouth, wishy-washy, don't-take-a-position answer is a sure symptom of spinal-vacuous disorder - and Washington is awash in this disease.

The Convention on the Law of the Sea, also known as the LOST, may be the worst treaty ever proposed by the United Nations.

This treaty requires that the U.S. subject its sovereignty over its territorial  seas to the treaty. Article 2(3) says:

 "... sovereignty over the territorial sea is exercised subject to this Convention and to other rules of international law."

Senator Richard Lugar, says that "... a handful of amateur admirals have sought to cast a shadow over the treaty by suggesting that we are turning over our sovereignty to the United Nations. Their criticisms simply don't hold water."  

Senator Richard Lugar either did not read Article 2(3), or he is deliberately trying to deceive the people.  The treaty language is clear and unmistakable.

This treaty requirement is only one of many that should sink the treaty.  Among the many flaws are the various "dispute resolution" panels created by the document.  The U.S. could name only one of the arbiters; this means that the U.S. would be bound by decisions made by a panel appointed by our opponents, or by the U.N.  This is precisely the same dispute resolution mechanism that is forcing the U.S. to allow Mexican trucks access to American highways.

The treaty says that military activity is exempt from this process, but it fails to say who decides what is, or is not, military activity.  Ambassador Negroponte says that the U.S. will decide, but there is no reason to think that a disputing nation would accept the U.S. position.  The treaty's silence on this issue renders it useless in military matters.

The treaty creates an International Seabed Authority which has the power to tax private enterprise - in the form of application fees and royalties.  And it has the authority to mine the seabed in competition with free enterprise, with subsidies from the member nations.

This horrible, socialist enterprise also has the power to regulate and enforce land-based pollution, and has already filed a claim against Great Britain.  It has the power to regulate and enforce inland estuaries where wildlife that may migrate to the ocean originates. 

Why in the world would any U.S. Senator in his right mind vote to ratify this onerous treaty? The treaty provides no benefits at all to the United States; it simply sucks the nation deeper into the morass of international corruption sponsored by the United Nations.

Through two hearings in this session of Congress, only two opposing voices have been allowed to speak, for a total of ten minutes.  Treaty supporters, on the other hand, have been given the red-carpet treatment.  Only a massive outpouring of voter rage will get the attention of Senators smitten with spinal-vacuous disorder.

It is amazing how many people have never called their Senators.  It's easy.  It takes only a minute.  Call each of them, and tell them to oppose this Law of the Sea Treaty.  Tell them to speak out against it.  Tell them to build resistance among their colleagues.  Tell them that a strong voice in Washington that reflects the will of their constituents is the only tested remedy for spinal-vacuous disorder.

Fortunately, Senators Vitter (Louisiana) and DeMint (South Carolina) have expressed concerns about the treaty in the hearings.  They need a lot of help if this treaty is to be defeated, and time is running short.  The treaty could come to a vote any day.  Once ratified, there will be no turning back. ESR

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), and chairman of Sovereignty International.


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