Reprinted from NewsMax.com
Senate Refuses Debate on
Wednesday, September 26, 2007 8:07 PM
By: Kenneth R. Timmerman
By: Kenneth R. Timmerman
The Bush administration is headed for another collision with its
conservative base that bears all the hallmarks of the immigration
debacle, where legislation that would have granted amnesty to illegal
aliens bitterly divided the Republican party and ultimately went down
in flames this past June.
This time the subject is a controversial international treaty that few
Americans have ever heard of until now.
Officially known as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the
Sea, opponents are referring to it more simply as the Law of the Sea
Treaty, or LOST.
What’s got them most riled up is the fact that neither the Bush White
House, nor the Treaty’s supporters in the United States Senate, appear
willing to have a forthright, honest, and full debate.
“They’re trying to ram this thing through in the dead of night,” said
former Reagan administration Pentagon official Frank Gaffney, who now
heads the conservative Center for Security Policy.
On Thursday, the Senate Foreign Relationship Committee, which is
chaired by Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, will hold its first hearing on
the controversial Treaty. A bevy of senior Bush administration
officials will all testify in favor of the Treaty. But not a single
voice in opposition will be heard.
“Biden brushed us off with a form letter,” says Cliff Kincaid, an
anti-United Nations activist who has teamed together with Gaffney and
other conservatives into an ad hoc coalition to oppose the treaty.
Thursday’s hearing “is just a stunt by Biden to get mileage for his
presidential campaign,” he told reporters in Washington on Wednesday.
“And the Bush administration is being dragged along for the show.”
Negotiations that led to the UN Treaty began in the 1970s, but even
Carter administration officials expressed reservations when a
“coalition of bad guys led by North Korea hijacked the Treaty” in 1977,
said former Pentagon aide and LOST specialist, Peter Leitner.
President Reagan rejected LOST in 1982, and identified a large number
of objections that opponents of the treaty say have never been resolved.
Reagan opposed LOST on principle, Gaffney and others insist. And
proposed amendments to the Treaty negotiated by President Bill Clinton
in 1994 were meaningless, because the Treaty itself stipulated that no
amendments could be made for another ten years, they argue.
“This is the largest treaty ever negotiated by man,” Leitner said on
Wednesday. “It erodes national sovereignty more thoroughly than any
other treaty ever conceived. Congress has not done its due diligence.”
Leitner, Gaffney, Kincaid and their coalition partners are asking the
U.S. Senate to hold a series of hearings to examine the multiple
aspects of this monumental treaty and its implications for U.S.
business and U.S. national sovereignty. They have created a website
chock-full of information on the Treaty and the gigantic new United
Nations bureaucracy it has created, at www.rejectLOST.org.
“When you ratify this Treaty you are in fact ratifying a whole suite of
treaties,” said international legal expert Lawrence Kogan.
Various provisions of the Treaty will regulate how U.S. businesses can
mine the seabed for minerals. Others will require American companies to
transfer strategic technologies to Third World countries, some of them
declared enemies of the United States.
The Treaty will also impose a “globo-tax” to finance what the critics
called “a second United Nations,” complete with committees, councils, a
sprawling bureaucracy, and a mandatory arbitration process that will
punish American corporations, and infringe on private property rights.
“No matter what happens, we’re going to lose,” said Cliff Kincaid, an
investigative reporter turned activist who has published several
reports on LOST. With just one vote within the mandatory Treaty
organizations, the United States will simply be outvoted by whatever
coalition decides to oppose us, he and other opponents of the Treaty
Gaffney warned that Europe and the Third World were planning to use the
Treaty as “lawfare” against the United States.
“Lawfare” involves using international treaties and regulations as a
form of “assymetrical warfare,” he said, to restrict the passage of
U.S. warships in times of international crisis and otherwise defeat
U.S. efforts to defend our national interests without using military
Gaffney and the anti-LOST coalition are asking Senate Minority leader
Mitch McConnell (R, KY), to allow the various committees with
jurisdiction over the Treaty to hold oversight hearings.
They argue that the Treaty will affect how the U.S. Navy can navigate
the high seas, so it should be heard by the Armed Services committee.
Because it involves taxation issues, the Appropriations and Banking
committees should have a say.
Because it will regulate international commerce, the Commerce, Science
and Transportation committee should hear from U.S. businesses and other
And because the Treaty will also impose new environmental restrictions
on U.S. inland waterways that flow into the sea, the Environment and
Public Works committee should also examine it, they argue.
“Senator Mitch McConnell could sink this Treaty if he chose,” said
“And we are calling on him to do so,” Frank Gaffney added.
Gaffney related a recent meeting with a member of Parliament from a
European country, who decried the rise of the European Union and the
subsequent erosion of national sovereignty of member states.
“He told me, ‘This is how my country lost its sovereignty,’” Gaffney
said. “’Our national parliaments become rubber stamps.’”
“That’s what we are trying to avoid here,” Gaffney added.
A Treaty of this magnitude “could benefit from a couple of months of
scrutiny, instead of being rammed down our throats by the elites who
claim they know best,” Gaffney said.
Senator Biden has promised one further hearing sometime in October
during which Gaffney and one other critic of the Treaty will be allowed
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6. For a preview, including newly-released CIA documents, go