Admin pushing Law of the Seas Treaty. Gives int'l body right to tax US citizens and transfer wealth to other countries.

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    Jun 13, 2012 9:09 PM GMT

    The U.N.’s Law of the Sea Treaty Threatens Our National Sovereignty

    By Julie Borowski

    The latest threat to U.S. sovereignty is the United Nations’ Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) that is being pushed by the Obama administration. LOST rises from the dead every few years. For more than thirty years, the United States has refused to become a party to LOST for good reasons. But this could be the year that the United States surrenders its sovereignty over the seas to an international body if Obama gets his way.

    Under this treaty, the U.N. would have control over 71 percent of the Earth’s surface. This would be a huge step towards global governance. The Senate may vote to ratify the sea treaty as early as next week. President Ronald Reagan rejected LOST back in 1982, stating it would grant the U.N. the power to tax U.S. companies and redistribute wealth from developed to undeveloped nations.

    For the first time in history, the U.N. would have the authority to collect taxes from U.S. citizens. The thought of global taxation should send goose bumps down the spine of every American.

    Any form of global taxation would be a direct violation of the U.S. Constitution. American citizens are already overtaxed and overregulated. The last thing we need is an unelected, unconstitutional international body imposing even more harmful taxes and regulations on us. LOST could end up costing trillions of dollars and the American people would have no say on how the money is spent.

    If the U.S. ratifies LOST, U.S. energy companies would be forced to pay a part of their royalties to the International Seabed Authority in Kingston, Jamaica. This supra-national governing body would be tasked with the mission of distributing revenue to “developing states” such as Somalia, Zimbabwe, and Burma. Like all forms of foreign “aid”, it’s likely that a big chunk of this money will end up in the hands of corrupt dictators thus propping up authoritarian regimes.

    The U.N. would be granted the power to regulate deep-sea exploration in U.S. waters. LOST would do irreparable harm to U.S. companies by forcing them to comply with global environmental rules. The treaty would create a new international tribunal known as the International Tribunal of LOST (ITLOS) to adjudicate a number of different issues.

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    Jun 13, 2012 9:10 PM GMT

    Why the U.N. Shouldn't Own the Seas - The Law of the Sea Treaty is as harmful today as it was when Reagan and Thatcher first opposed it in 1982.


    Thirty years ago, President Ronald Reagan asked me to meet with world leaders to represent the United States in opposition to the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty. Our efforts soon found a persuasive supporter in British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Today, as the U.S. Senate again considers approving this flawed agreement, the Reagan-Thatcher reasons for opposition remain every bit as persuasive.

    When I met with Mrs. Thatcher in 1982, her conclusion on the treaty was unforgettable: "What this treaty proposes is nothing less than the international nationalization of roughly two-thirds of the Earth's surface." Then, referring to her battles dismantling Britain's state-owned mining and utility companies, she added, "And you know how I feel about nationalization. Tell Ronnie I'm with him."

    Reagan had entered office the year before with the treaty presented to him as a done deal requiring only his signature and Senate ratification. Then as now, most of the world's nations had already approved it. The Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations had all gone along. American diplomats generally supported the treaty and were shocked when Reagan changed America's policy. Puzzled by their reaction, the president was said to have responded, "But isn't that what the election was all about?"

    Yet, as the Gipper might have said, here we go again: An impressive coalition—including every living former secretary of State—has endorsed the Obama administration's goal of ratifying the treaty. The U.S. Navy wants to "lock in" existing and widely accepted rules of high-seas navigation. Business groups say the treaty could help them by creating somewhat more certainty.

    Can so many people, organizations and countries be mistaken? Yes. Various proponents have valid considerations, but none has made a compelling case that the treaty would, on balance, benefit America as a whole.

    Though a 1994 agreement (signed by some but not all parties to the treaty) fixed some of its original flaws, the treaty remains a sweeping power grab that could prove to be the largest mechanism for the world-wide redistribution of wealth in human history.

    The treaty proposes to create a new global governance institution that would regulate American citizens and businesses without being accountable politically to the American people. Some treaty proponents pay little attention to constitutional concerns about democratic legislative processes and principles of self-government, but I believe the American people take seriously such threats to the foundations of our nation.

    The treaty creates a United Nations-style body called the "International Seabed Authority." "The Authority," as U.N. bureaucrats call it in Orwellian shorthand, would be involved in all commercial activity in international waters, such as mining and oil and gas production. Pursuant to the treaty's Article 82, the U.S. would be required to transfer to this entity a significant share of all royalties generated by U.S. companies—royalties that would otherwise go to the U.S. Treasury.

    Over time, hundreds of billions of dollars could flow through the Authority with little oversight. The U.S. would not control how those revenues are spent: The treaty empowers the Authority to redistribute these so-called international royalties to developing and landlocked nations with no role in exploring or extracting those resources.

    This would constitute massive global welfare, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. It would be as if fishermen who exerted themselves to catch fish on the high seas were required, on the principle that those fish belonged to all people everywhere, to give a share of their take to countries that had nothing to do with their costly, dangerous and arduous efforts.

    Worse still, these sizable "royalties" could go to corrupt dictatorships and state sponsors of terrorism. For example, as a treaty signatory and a member of the Authority's executive council, the government of Sudan—which has harbored terrorists and conducted a mass extermination campaign against its own people—would have as much say as the U.S. on issues to be decided by the Authority.

    Disagreements among treaty signatories are to be decided through mandatory dispute-resolution processes of uncertain integrity. Americans should be uncomfortable with unelected and unaccountable tribunals appointed by the secretary-general of the United Nations serving as the final arbiter of such disagreements.

    Even if one were to agree with the principle of global wealth redistribution from the U.S. to other nations, other U.N. bodies have proven notably unskilled at financial management. The U.N. Oil for Food program in Iraq, for instance, resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in corruption and graft that directly benefited Saddam Hussein and his allies. The Law of the Sea Treaty is an opportunity for scandal on an even larger scale.

    The most persuasive argument for the treaty is the U.S. Navy's desire to shore up international navigation rights. It is true that the treaty might produce some benefits, clarifying some principles and perhaps making it easier to resolve certain disputes. But our Navy has done quite well without this treaty for the past 200 years, relying often on centuries-old, well-established customary international law to assert navigational rights. Ultimately, it is our naval power that protects international freedom of navigation. This treaty would not make a large enough additional contribution to counterbalance the problems it would create.

    In his farewell address to the nation in 1988, Reagan advised the country: "Don't be afraid to see what you see." If the members of the U.S. Senate fulfill their responsibilities, read the Law of the Sea Treaty and consider it carefully, I believe they will come to the conclusion that its costs to our security and sovereignty would far exceed any benefits.