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By Cliff Kincaid

September 6, 2007

The Russian claim to the North Pole has started a panic among some politicians and the press, who think the U.S. response should be to dicker with the Russians over Arctic riches before a United Nations panel established by the Law of the Sea Treaty. The U.S. has to ratify the treaty quickly, they say, so we donít get left out. Senator Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate foreign Relations Committee, has reportedly scheduled a September 27 hearing designed to rush the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) through the Senate and to the floor for a quick vote.

In fact, the U.S. already has valid claims to the North Pole region, under the ďDoctrine of DiscoveryĒ legal principle, and accession to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) could sink any chance of America ever cashing in on the black gold.

You can contact your Senators by calling this toll-free number 1-800-828-0498 for the Captiol switchboard. You can read more about Bidenís scheme in this special report published by Americaís Survival, Inc.

The Russian ploy was old-style disinformation which shows that President Vladimir Putin hasnít forgotten his old KGB days. As part of his effort to resurrect Russia as the superpower it was during Soviet times, he sent an expedition to the Pole to stake a claim. In fact, Russian scientists have themselves conceded that the Americans were there first, back in 1908 and 1909, depending on which American team one believes actually physically reached the Pole. They even planted an American flag there. U.S. nuclear-powered Navy submarines traveled under the Pole in the 1950s, also claiming the territory for America. All of this is a matter of official and public record, although the U.S. State Department does not seem to recognize it.

But when Russia staked a claim there in August, the American explorations were quickly forgotten and supporters of UNCLOS suddenly declared that Russia would get the Arctic riches unless we quickly ratified the treaty. This claim is as bogus as the Russian expedition.

On the question on what the Russians actually did on their North Pole visit, we saw photos and video of Russian mini-subs and a Russian flag on a seabed. But it is not at all clear any of this occurred under or near the Pole. Russian television channel Rossiya aired the footage, only to backfire when a 13-year-old Finnish boy noticed that the subs looked like those in James Cameronís movie about the Titanic. Reuters use the Russian TV clips, later acknowledging that they were of the search for the Titanic and had nothing to do with the North Pole visit. NBC Nightly News used one of the clips as well, but didnít acknowledge making an error. So was the Russian flag actually planted under the Pole? Itís hard to know.


We do know that Rossiya came under the control of Putinís regime when he installed Aleksandr Zdanovich, spokesman for the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), as deputy director of the company that runs the channel. The FSB, of course, used to be known as the KGB, notorious for disinformation operations designed to confuse and mislead the world about Soviet intentions.

Confusion is exactly what has occurred in the wake of the Russian claim. Numerous papers, including the New York Times, have reacted by saying that we have to ratify UNCLOS in order to get in on the Arctic action. Never mind that the Times is even opposed to limited drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

But how exactly does passing UNCLOS cut us in on the action anyway? It would effectively undercut our historic claims to the region and would turn the matter over to the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). This body, which was created by UNCLOS, has 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 in September 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.

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Perhaps this is the trap that Putin has set for us.

Before itís too late, please call the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and ask that critics of UNCLOS such as Americaís Survival, Inc. be given the opportunity to testify against the treaty. The Majority (Democratic) phone is (202) 224-4651. The Minority (Republican) phone is (202) 224-6797.


© 2007 Cliff Kincaid - All Rights Reserved

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Cliff Kincaid, a veteran journalist and media critic, Cliff concentrated in journalism and communications at the University of Toledo, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Cliff has written or co-authored nine books on media and cultural affairs and foreign policy issues.

Cliff has appeared on Hannity & Colmes, The OíReilly Factor, Crossfire and has been published in the Washington Post, Washington Times, Chronicles, Human Events and Insight.

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The Russian ploy was old-style disinformation which shows that President Vladimir Putin hasnít forgotten his old KGB days. As part of his effort to resurrect Russia as the superpower...