Seasick: The Law of the Sea Treaty
The U.N.'s law of the Sea Treaty is the biggest giveaway of American sovereignty and resources since the Panama Canal Treaty. It lays the groundwork for another U.N. corruption scandal worse than oil-for-food. This report reveals:
Those in favor of the U.N.'s Law of the Sea Treaty want desperately to avoid any mention of how the treaty was spawned by the corrupt U.N. and how its global tax mechanism will allow employees of the U.N. and member states to get their hands on billions of dollars.
The U.N.'s Law of the Sea Treaty could make the U.N.'s oil-for-food scandal, the largest financial fraud in history, look like peanuts.
In a letter distributed in 2004 by Senator Richard Lugar, a supporter of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), eight former U.S. Department of State Legal Advisers stated that, "The fact that the term ‘United Nations' appears in the title of the LOS [Law of the Sea] Convention is legally meaningless and is an accident of history."
In fact, the preamble to UNCLOS alone has three references to the United Nations. First, it refers to UNCLOS as emerging from a United Nations
conference. Second, it refers to UNCLOS being based on a resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly. Finally, it declares that the treaty shall be implemented "in accordance with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations as set forth in the Charter."
China is a big winner under UNCLOS. So potentially is Russia.
Two of the institutions created by the treaty, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), have already joined the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund as member organizations. The U.N. pension fund, the best-managed program at the world body, has assets surpassing $36 billion. Such a move enables ISA and ITLOS employees to dip into these lucrative assets. The other body created by the treaty, the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), maintains its website through the U.N.'s Division for Oceans Affairs and the Law of the Sea.
The CLCS is the U.N. body that many in the media falsely claim has ownership or jurisdiction over the North Pole and Arctic oil, gas and mineral deposits. Ratification of UNCLOS would turn these resources over to the CLCS for dispersal to the Russians and other countries, despite the fact that American explorers discovered the Pole and U.S. Navy nuclear submarines were the first to travel under it.
Under the "Doctrine of Discovery" legal principle, therefore, the U.S. already has valid claims to the North Pole region, and accession to UNCLOS could sink any chance of America ever cashing in on the black gold. Passing UNCLOS would effectively undercut our historic claims to the region and turn the matter over to the CLCS, with 21 members from various countries.
It's true that the CLCS rejected some Russian claims to the Arctic region in 2002. It did so with information provided by the United States, proving that we didn't need to be a treaty member to play a role. But if the Senate ratifies this treaty and then a decision goes against our interests, the pressure will be enormous for the U.S. Government to comply. Indeed, the U.S. would be accused of violating international law if we rejected an UNCLOS finding. It is significant that on September 22, the Russian Natural Resources Ministry announced it had the "data" to prove that the North Pole is Russia's.
In addition to possibly benefiting Russia, the treaty creates a major funding source for the U.N. bureaucracy.
Watching Senators and officials trying to untie the knot between the U.N. and its Law of the Sea Treaty will be equivalent to Senate liberals and members of the Bush Administration trying to tell the American people that the illegal alien amnesty bill was not amnesty.
If the institutions created by the U.N.'s Law of the Sea Treaty are independent of the U.N., why do the ISA and ITLOS maintain formal and written relationship agreements with the U.N.? The ISA's relationship agreement, approved by the U.N. General Assembly on November 26, 1997, declares, "The Authority recognizes the desirability of establishing close budgetary and financial cooperation with the United Nations aimed at benefiting from the experience of the United Nations in this field." 
Article 11 of the agreement concerns "personnel arrangements," declaring that, "The United Nations and the Authority agree to apply, in the interests of uniform standards of international employment and to the extent feasible, common personnel standards, methods and arrangements designed to avoid unjustified differences in terms and conditions of employment and to facilitate interchange of personnel in order to obtain the maximum benefit from their services."
Hence, U.N. personnel can move between organizations.
Such statements, in light of the U.N.'s oil-for-food scandal, should promote the immediate and overwhelming rejection of UNCLOS. Senator Norm Coleman, whose Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations investigated the scandal in 2005, says that, "The Oil-for-Food program (OFF) was instigated in 1996 to provide food, medicine and humanitarian goods for the Iraqi people through the controlled sale of Iraqi oil, but ultimately generated an estimated $21.3 billion in illegal revenue for Saddam Hussein through smuggling, kickbacks, and other schemes in contravention of U.N. sanctions regimes." Coleman's investigations found "bribery, conflicts of interest and mismanagement on an unprecedented scale at virtually every level of the scandal-plagued U.N. program."
The nature of UNCLOS, with its provisions for massive payments from corporations and governments for access to oil, gas and minerals, makes it an inevitable conduit for money transfers that could dwarf the magnitude of the oil-for-food scandal.
Among other things, the "Agreement concerning the Relationship between the United Nations and the International Seabed Authority" declares that:
The latter provision would appear to authorize, even mandate, the transmission of confidential or even intelligence information to the U.N. Security Council.
However, support for the pact from Navy officials, who are not supposed to talk about the drastically declining number of U.S. Navy ships on the high seas (from 595 under Reagan to 276 today), has already convinced some Senators that UNCLOS somehow helps protect American interests. If the treaty is so beneficial, however, then why is the U.S. insisting on attaching 24 declarations and statements to the treaty?
The treaty has already been violated, in the U.S. view, by Communist China, which downed a U.S. Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane in 2001 because it was flying over China's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Chinese view is that foreign ships and planes have to have Chinese permission before moving through its EEZ (established by UNCLOS). The U.S. position is that it does not need such permission. The outcome of this incident, in which the U.S. failed to challenge China militarily, suggests that the China view could and would predominate internationally.
As it is, China is building what could be the largest Navy in the world by 2020.
The Pentagon's 2007 annual report to Congress on Chinese military power notes that:
"PRC military strategists have taken an increasing interest in international law as an instrument to deter adversaries prior to combat. In a Taiwan strait context, China could deploy an information campaign to portray third-party intervention as illegitimate under international law. China is also attempting to shape international opinion in favor of a distorted interpretation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, by moving scholarly opinion and national perspectives away from long-accepted norms of freedom of navigation and toward interpretations of increased sovereign authority over the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone, the airspace above it, and possibly outer space." 
If the eventual U.S. response to all of this is simply to ratify UNCLOS and hire more international lawyers, then ratification of UNCLOS signals the military decline of America and the rise of China.
It is important to note that U.S. Navy officials once argued against the expansion of territorial waters to 200 miles, realizing that such restrictions could close off large strategic areas of the world to fleet operations. The creation of 200 mile zones by UNCLOS helps explain why China signed and ratified the agreement. Incredibly, U.S. navy officials now acquiesce in this maneuver, thinking the U.S. can rebut China's contention through its own "reservations" to the treaty – reservations that are not even allowed or recognized as valid by the treaty itself.
Meanwhile, without any official U.S. challenge, China has announced that it will begin exploring for oil off Cuba's northwest coast, just 45 miles off Florida.
The U.N. and its bodies are stacked against us. The so-called Group of 77, which includes China, is now the largest intergovernmental organization of developing states in the U.N. Despite its name, it has increased to 130 countries. It not only dominates the U.N., it dominates the membership of UNCLOS. So China's "distorted" interpretation of the treaty will become international law through the sheer weight of the countries aligned against us.
What happens when a country like China violates the treaty again? It is clear, based on the EP-3 incident, that the U.S. doesn't have the political will or military capability to confront China. If the U.S. takes the case before ITLOS and it rules for China and against us, we will be in further trouble. It can only mean further surrender by the U.S. in the face of Chinese military power.
Rear Admiral Clarence A. (Mark) Hill (USN Ret.), who consistently opposed the development of UNCLOS, told us that the official U.S. position used to be freedom of navigation for U.S. flag vessels outside the three mile territorial limit recognized by us for all states. Now, Navy officials are arguing that a 200 mile EEZ can accommodate our interests. This view has already blown up in our faces in light of the ability of the Chinese to militarily enforce their interpretation of that provision. Ratification of UNCLOS can only make the problem worse. It just doesn't make sense for a country like the U.S. that is so dependent upon sea power to ratify UNCLOS.
If the Navy position falls apart on military grounds, it is even more suspect on economic grounds.
At a June 22, 2007, Heritage Foundation symposium on the Law of the Sea Treaty, one of the proponents was Rear Admiral William D. Baumgartner, the Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Coast Guard. Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy noted that U.S. corporations would be required to pay taxes to an International Seabed Authority for the right to exploit ocean resources, including developing sources of energy for the American people. However, Baumgartner said this view "just doesn't make any sense at all" and was not "rooted in reality." Baumgartner insisted that the new global bureaucracy was set up "to protect commercial property rights."
Our Admirals may know how to command ships but they seem to have no understanding of how to dodge the minefields of the sovereignty-sapping and morally bankrupt U.N.
U.S. officials supporting UNCLOS were not always as disingenuous as those making the case for the treaty today. A 1995 speech delivered by David A. Colson, then the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Ocean Affairs, promoted the treaty in the context of noting "opposition in our country to new United Nations institutions." There was no attempt on his part to claim that the ISA, ITLOS and the CLCS were not part of the U.N. system.
Speaking in the wake of the conservative Republican takeover of Congress, Colson said, "We are keenly aware of the move toward less regulation, smaller institutions and limited government that is sweeping our nation. The election of November 8th confirmed this trend." He insisted that, "The same winds have been blowing within the United Nations."
This is why he said that while there will be "costs associated with these institutions," they would be "relatively small." We now know, according to a report by analyst Michael C. Wood, that the budget of the ISA "increased substantially, doubling between 1996 and 1999" and that a "large proportion of the budget goes on conference services and on administrative matters, and relatively little on the substantive work of the Authority…" 
So the "winds" of small government didn't affect the ISA.
Is this really any surprise? The ISA is headquartered in beautiful Jamaica, an island paradise perfectly suited for the "work" of U.N. bureaucrats.
Even then, according to Wood's report, "many" of the states belonging to the ISA were failing to pay their contributions "in full and on time." These deadbeats were probably waiting for the treaty's global tax mechanism to kick in, creating what the United Nations Association refers to as ISA's ability "to directly collect international revenues to finance its activities." Treaty proponents don't like to call this a global tax, but that is exactly what it is. The treaty refers to this money euphemistically as application "fees" for access to the "Area," where the ISA decides who gets oil, gas and minerals.
The stakes are enormous. The Arctic alone could hold super-giant oil deposits that could last America for 200 years. If the U.N. gets its hands on these resources, the world body would get the financial resources to become at least a limited world government. And that is exactly what the World Federalists said in 1995, when one of their publications talked about the comprehensive nature and scope of UNCLOS. Another of the controversial provisions of UNCLOS, Article 93, refers to "Ships flying the flag of the United Nations" having complete freedom on the high seas.
As noted by Robert Stephens Staley II  in his paper, The Wave of the Future: The United Nations and Naval Peacekeeping, "naval forces were an important component of the UN forces envisioned by the [U.N.'s] Military staff Committee in its original deliberations in 1946 and 1947." Staley notes that liberal Democratic Senator Claiborne Pell, one of the most prominent proponents of UNCLOS, "envisioned an International Sea Patrol in the 1960s." 
How much different is this from U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Mullen's call for an "interconnected community of maritime nations working together" in a 1,000-ship Navy under "hundreds of flags?" His proposal earned the following headline in Defense News: "New U.S. Navy Chief Wants ‘1,000-Ship' International Navy."
Mullen is taking over as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The U.N. already has some ships, but UNCLOS seems to necessitate the creation of a global maritime force. And that can only be financed by the treaty's global tax mechanism.
Annex III of the treaty relating to "Basic Conditions of Prospecting, Exploration and Exploitation" is the key to understanding the global taxation concept. Article 13 explains the "financial terms" of contracts and how the ISA reaps a profit from this activity. It is quite detailed.
Some big U.S. firms, which are scheduled to testify in favor of the treaty, have decided they have no alternative but to pay these "fees." They realize, should they decide to explore for and exploit ocean resources on their own, that they cannot count on the U.S. Navy to protect them. So they are seeking comfort in the bowels of a new U.N. bureaucracy. All of these "fees" will, of course, be passed on to U.S. taxpayers and consumers, making it a global tax on America.
Not surprisingly, the ISA Council is now contemplating new regulations raising the application fees, on the grounds that "inflation" and "increased costs" to the ISA have taken their toll. It is shaping up as a typical U.N. bureaucracy.
Peter Sterling, the president of United Oil and Gas Consortium Management Corp., doesn't want to go through a U.N. bureaucracy to gain access to ocean resources. His firm has already staked claims to oil and gas resources in the Arctic Ocean and minerals in the Pacific Ocean. In a letter to Senator Joe Biden, requesting the opportunity to testify against the treaty,  he points out the following:
"[The ISA] officially came into existence in 1994 but its first Secretary-General, Satya Nandan of Fiji, wasn't elected until March 1996. The Authority didn't become fully operational until June 1996. It wasn't until 2000 that the Assembly of the Authority issued regulations on prospecting and exploration for polymetallic nodules.It was in 2001 that the Authority entered into the first 15-year contracts for exploration for them. This is the only ‘legislative' accomplishment to date of the Authority. No rules are available for actually mining polymetallic nodules and none are being recovered commercially nor are they ever likely to be under the ill-conceived ISA regime.
Another controversial provision, Article 82, provides for payments or contributions made by coastal states (such as the U.S.) to the ISA to be passed along to developing states. This is another form of foreign aid. But who knows how much money we are talking about? Has there been any Senate analysis of what this means?
Parts of the 202-page treaty read like a Soviet industrial plan, which is not a great surprise since it was inspired by demands by the then-Soviet Union and the Third World for a "New International Economic Order" to fleece the U.S. and other Western nations of their resources. Elaborate provisions in Article 161 authorize the ISA to initiate "production policies" and "production authorizations" giving certain countries and firms access to mineral deposits. One section envisions the "transfer of technology" from U.S. and other firms to the rest of the world.
Currently, the ISA is financed by "assessed" contributions. This is the same scheme that the U.N. uses to finance itself. Certain countries are "assessed" or told they have to pay a certain amount. In fiscal year 2005, the U.S. "contributed" $5.3 billion to the United Nations System. In terms of UNCLOS, as the "richest" country in the world, we will be ordered to pay the most. Who knows how much this will be? Have any studies been done?
In addition to the three major U.N. institutions, the treaty also creates various commissions for the ISA, including an "Economic Planning Commission" and a "Legal and Technical Commission." Article 163 declares that members should have "appropriate qualifications," be competent, and "have no financial interest in any activity relating to exploration and exploitation in the in the Area." It also declares that the members of the commissions should not disclose "any industrial secret" or "proprietary data" which are "transferred" to the ISA.
Where are the mechanisms to make certain that members of these commissions act ethically? We searched in vain for any provision for members of these commissions to file financial disclosure forms. So how do we know they're not getting behind-the-scenes bribes and payments? You may recall that U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan himself received a $500,000 personal gift from the government of Dubai. And that was NOT considered a violation of U.N. rules.
Even after the oil-for-food scandal, the U.N. has still failed to police its own employees. The world body had announced that employees would be filing financial-disclosure forms. But then it said that the forms would only be filed by some senior employees and they would not be made public.
The new U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has filed a financial disclosure form which has been made public. But it is so vague as to be meaningless. It says such things as that he maintains checking and savings accounts and owns an apartment but only gives a general estimate of the worth of these items. Certain personal information was removed, we are told, for "security purposes." The U.N. says that the form was provided to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the financial firm, which "determined that no further action is required of him with respect to his compliance with the requirements of the financial disclosure program." This is "trust me" from a bureaucracy that violated our trust.
An October 2006 report from the Government Accountability Office tells the story. "United Nations: Management Reforms Progressing Slowly with Many Awaiting General Assembly Review." 
It is even worse with the new U.N. institutions established by the Law of the Sea Treaty.
 http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/pdfs/070523-China-Military-Power-final.pdf Page 13.
 Staley served as a professor of strategy and policy at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He also served on the faculty of the U.S. Air Force Academy.
 Pell served on the staff of the San Francisco Convention that prepared the U.N. Charter. In a speech about the Law of the Sea Treaty, he said, "The Convention then became the interest of many people. I remember particularly the `Pacem in Maribus'--Peace on the Seas--meetings organized by Elisabeth Mann Borgese. Her book, The Ocean Regime, published in 1968, gave written expression to the ideas that were to gain a wider audience through Pacem in Maribus, on their way to being embodied in the negotiated texts of the Law of the Sea Convention." Borgese was a socialist who admired Karl Marx.
 Sterling has not been invited to testify before Biden's committee.
Questions for the U.S. Senate: