Circumnavigating the Rule of Law

By: Nancy Salvato

The last I heard, the United States was not a signatory to the Law of the Sea Convention. Yet back in 1996, under President Clinton, we became signatories to an agreement with the Commonwealth of the Bahamas “concerning a cooperative Shiprider and Overflight Drug Interdiction Program for Joint Operations,” known as the 1996 Shiprider Agreement.

“Based on the principles of international law, respect for the sovereign equality of States and in full respect of the principle of the right of freedom of navigation consistent with the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention,” this agreement was superseded by a more comprehensive agreement in 2004 (US State Department).

Ten years after this initial agreement ,the United States Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police implemented an experimental “Shiprider,” program designed to thwart a potential high profile terrorist attack during the Super Bowl, an anticipated launch from a maritime vessel on the Detroit River, outside Detroit (The Ottawa Citizen).

According to an article in Law and technology resources for legal professionals, the Agreement Making Process follows these rules:

â–ª Secretary of State authorizes negotiation

â–ª U.S. representatives negotiate

â–ª Agree on terms, and upon authorization of Secretary of State, sign agreement

â–ª Three types of agreements

â–ª Agreement enters into force

â–ª President transmits agreement to Congress (pursuant to Case-Zablocki Act)

Fast forward just a few weeks ago to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s controversial remarks, in which “she suggested the 9-11 terrorists entered the U.S. through Canada,” and has since rescinded yet maintains “other terror suspects have crossed south over the border.”

Today, it was announced that Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano signed a Shiprider Agreement with Canada. The National Post reported one week earlier Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s comments that our northern border is “too porous” and [since 9/11] “we have been working with our friends in Canada to try to harden that border,” and that “our Department of Homeland Security will continue to do so.”

Just six months ago, The UN Council issued a resolution calling on “States and regional organizations fighting piracy to conclude agreements with countries, especially in the region, willing to take custody of pirates to put their own law enforcement officials on board as “ship riders” to prosecute detained suspects.”

Convenient? Opportunistic? It seems to be the norm for this administration to follow a “One-World” mindset. Yes, It can be argued that the Bush Administration implemented such a measure in order to thwart a potential terrorist attack, but it can also be debated that this was a response to an imminent threat. In peacetime, the Obama Administration uses every possible means to implement policy that circumvents the legislative branch of government, those officials elected to represent our interests and instead moves to take its place as one of the cogs in the new world order by trading away our nation’s sovereignty…

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