Accuracy in Media


The former editor of the New York Times editorial page says it is “crazy” to be opposed to the U.N.’s Law of the Sea Treaty and she can’t understand why it has become a hot-button issue in the Republican presidential race. Gail Collins declared in a November 3 column in the Times that the measure simply clarifies “rules for navigation and mining in international waters” and sets up “a system for settling disputes.” Those opposed to it, she says, are spinning “conspiracy theories.” But Collins is doing the spinning. What if there were evidence that the treaty was the product of those who believe in world government financed by global taxes?

The true story of how the Law of the Sea Treaty came into being is a fascinating one that AIM editor Cliff Kincaid has investigated for several years. He researched the matter at the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea in New York City and at the Friends Historical Collection at Guilford College in North Carolina. The Guilford College papers demonstrate the activities that engaged Sam and Miriam Levering as they wrote and promoted this treaty. The Leverings, a husband-and-wife team who were Quakers and World Federalists, helped write the treaty and lobbied for it through a non-governmental organization called the Neptune Group.

You have probably never heard of them before. But the November 4 edition of the Mount Airy (North Carolina) News gave a hint of the truth. It reported that Sam Levering “played a key role in formulating” the treaty and was recognized for that role during a symposium there on October 12.

Is it possible this small-town North Carolina paper has information that Gail Collins and the Times do not? Who is Sam Levering? And is it true that he played a key role in writing the treaty?  Here lies one of the sinister secrets of the U.N.’s Law of the Sea Treaty that the major media are either too lazy or too dishonest to report. It is a “secret,” of course, only in the sense that it is kept from the American people by papers like the New York Times.

The shocking truth is that the Law of the Sea Treaty, one of several treaties being pushed by State Department Legal Adviser John B. Bellinger III, was largely written by people like Sam Levering, a World Federalist devoted to world government. And since that is demonstrably the case, could the Law of the Sea Treaty be considered a step toward world government? Or is it too conspiratorial to even consider such a possibility?

Names Were Changed

The Mount Airy News was reporting on an October 12 symposium on the treaty sponsored by a patriotic-sounding group called the “American Freedom Association.” The paper reported that “The event featured a variety of speakers on the treaty, including Ralph Levering, whose late father Sam played a key role in formulating the measure in 1982.” The paper quoted Marie Judson, the association’s historian, as saying that “one of the reasons she supports the treaty is to help carry on the work started by Sam Levering, a strong advocate for peace, who among other issues campaigned against nuclear arms proliferation.”

The American Freedom Association was one of several groups which emerged after World War II and were devoted to the concept of “world federalism” or world government. Their reaction to the horrors of World War II caused them to embrace world government as the solution to the world’s problems. But some of the world federalist groups were accused of being infiltrated or manipulated by communists sympathetic to the Soviet Union. For that reason, one of these groups changed its name to “American Freedom Association” in the 1950s.

The group’s website admits as much. “Many of the founding members were members of the World Federalist Society,” it says. “The chosen name reflected a strong perspective on the required conditions for American Freedom. It also reflected a need for a name that was acceptable at the height of the era of Senator Joe McCarthy.” In other words, in order to avoid the taint of being associated with the world communist movement, the name was changed.

A similar public-relations strategy was also evident in 2004 when the World Federalist Association changed its name to the more harmless sounding “Citizens for Global Solutions.” It is funded by major liberal foundations and lobbies for ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. It also joined with the Open Society Institute of George Soros to oppose John Bolton’s nomination as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Facing opposition in the Senate, Bolton served temporarily in that position and then resigned. He has released a book, Surrender is Not an Option.

With Bolton out of the way, the pressure is mounting for the U.S. to get further entangled in international courts and tribunals by accepting the International Criminal Court (ICC). Though cloaked in flowery language about bringing justice to the world, the ICC could subject American citizens to the compulsory jurisdiction of an international tribunal of foreign judges with no respect for our most basic Constitutional rights.

On August 31, the pressure intensified when the Harvard International Review published an article, “The End of Exceptionalism in War Crimes: The International Criminal Court and America’s Credibility in the World,” noting with pleasure that: “No senior Bush administration official has been on the warpath against the ICC since John Bolton lost his ambassadorial post at the United Nations in late 2006.”

The authors were David Scheffer, who served as the U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues in the Clinton Administration, and Richard Cooper and Juliette Voinov Kohler. After noting that recent developments in the United States “have opened the door for a more balanced and constructive understanding of the ICC,” the authors predicted that:

“One key event should compel Washington to act decisively over the next two years, perhaps even leading to its embrace of the Rome Statute in spring 2009. The Rome Statute requires the convening of a review conference seven years after the establishment of the ICC?that date arrives on July 1, 2009. The Assembly of States Parties of the ICC is already well into the planning for a 2009 or 2010 review conference, which will open up the Rome Statute for possible amendment. If the United States is a state party to the ICC by the time the conference convenes, then it can exert considerable influence on the outcome of the conference with its own proposals and exercise of diplomatic power in the negotiations.”

The date of spring 2009 lies, of course, in the next administration. But the authors do not suggest acceptance of the ICC is dependent on a liberal Democrat occupying the White House. Rather, they urge Senate action, saying that: “The Senate will need to debate the issue in the spring of 2009 with a timely vote.”

Global Taxes

Back when it proudly called itself the World Federalist Association, the group said that one of its main priorities was to “provide the U.N. with sustained and independent sources of funding.” How did they intend to bring this about? Through the Law of the Sea Treaty.

The WFA book, A New World Order: Can It Bring Security to the World’s People?, declared, “One of the most popular concepts identified as an independent source of revenue is the ocean and seabeds.” It noted that the treaty creates an International Seabed Authority to grant “leasing rights to private corporations,” provide “mining concessions,” and operate mining operations through something called the Enterprise. “Certain fees and sharing of technology are also involved,” it noted. Revenues accruing to the Seabed Authority “are designated for development assistance” or foreign aid.

Basic investigative reporting, which is apparently lacking at the Times and other liberal papers, also reveals that the concept of the “common heritage of mankind” was inserted into the treaty through the aforementioned efforts of Sam Levering and his wife Miriam. They were the left-wing Quakers and World Federalists who formed the “Neptune Group” to lobby for the treaty over the course of decades. They worked with Elliot Richardson, who was President Jimmy Carter’s representative to the treaty negotiations. He would later serve as national co-chair-man of the pro-U.N. lobby, the U.N. Association. (The U.N. Association is funded by most of the major media groups, including the New York Times Company Foundation.)

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), a Quaker group, reports that “During the 1970s, Sam and Miriam worked out of FCNL’s office as they diligently and patiently advocated to keep the oceans part of ‘the common heritage of mankind’ and negotiated with governments on the treaty’s final language.” FCNL reports that the Leverings also “entered the fray in 1970 as Congress debated the Deep Seabed Hard Mineral Resources bill that promoted a nationalistic approach” to mining. The Leverings strongly opposed that approach. Their notion of the oceans being the “common heritage of mankind” stayed in the treaty. 

Birth Of World Government

The results were what they intended. In its 1995 study, National Taxpayers, International Organizations: Sharing the Burden of Financing the United Nations, the U.N. Association admitted that the International Seabed Authority was unique among U.N. bodies: “Only the Seabed authority created by the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, which entered into force in late 1994, has authority today to directly collect international revenue to finance its activities.” Hence, global taxes were born, a major step on the road to world government. But will the U.S. Senate sign on to that scheme? That’s what the battle over the Law of the Sea Treaty is all about. 

“My parents were world peace advocates,” boasted Davidson College history professor Ralph Levering. “They were deeply involved with the World Federalist Movement from the 1930s through the 1950s, advocating a federalist system binding all countries under a central world government with limited power.” There were other players involved and you can read about them in this report.

An official 1997 WFA publication declared that the final version of the Law of the Sea Treaty “marked real progress in establishing global governance by?stipulating that mining of the seabeds beyond national waters should require payment of royalties to the LOS [Law of the Sea] organization, thereby creating a funding resource that would be independent of voluntary contributions by the treaty member nations. These are the elements of a limited world government in a very restricted field that is nevertheless significant.”

There you have it, Ms. Collins. You can call this a conspiracy theory if you want to. But it is really not. It is an open secret that our major media want to conceal.



Defeating the Law of the Sea Treaty would not only stop the globalists dead in their tracks. It would let the major media know that the public has seen through their propaganda and disinformation.

Our major media were intentionally AWOL from the debate over the U.N.’s Law of the Sea Treaty, aiding and abetting the liberal scheme to quickly ratify the dangerous measure. If they had attended and covered the hearings, they would have reported that committee chairman Senator Joseph Biden and his Republican sidekick, the hapless Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, have done their best to keep information about the major flaws in this treaty away from public view. The treaty gives the U.N. unprecedented power over our domestic and economic policies and relations with foreign countries. It creates tribunals and courts to dictate our conduct on the high seas and an International Seabed Authority to govern access to oil, gas and minerals.

But after ignoring the story of growing opposition to the pact from the American people, the New York Times and the Washington Post ran editorials in their October 31 papers urging ratification. Both papers resorted to name-calling, with the Times editorial labeling the critics as “cranky right-wingers” and the Post declaring that opponents of the accord had “irrational fears about one-worldism.”

However, in the same way that the people let the media and the politicians know they did not want an illegal alien amnesty bill, members of the Senate and Republican presidential candidates were starting to get the message that the U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty must not be ratified. All of the Senate Republican leadership and all of the Republican presidential candidates had expressed opposition to the treaty, especially its provisions for new U.N. bureaucracies.

This “people power” is clearly one reason why Senator John McCain, who once supported the pact, now calls it a threat to U.S. sovereignty and says he would vote against it. McCain, a much-decorated Navy veteran, should have been a natural opponent of the pact from the start. He must know in his heart that the only way for the U.S. to remain a superpower on the high seas is to have the strongest Navy in the world. A piece of paper from the U.N. will not suffice. Yet our Navy is down to only 276 ships from 594 under President Reagan.

Whatever the reasons for McCain’s conversion, the matter of keeping power with the American people is exactly what this battle is all about. It’s good that he got the message. But it was mind-boggling that any member of the U.S. Senate would want to ratify this treaty. After all, it transfers decision-making authority away from our elected leaders to global authorities and U.N. bureaucracies largely populated by anti-American countries. Nevertheless, the Post editorial said this somehow served “American interests.”   

While dismissing the critics as “right-wingers,” the New York Times uses an argument meant to appeal to them. “The steady retreat of the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean?caused largely by global warming?has opened up an inaccessible part of the world to shipping and potentially vast deposits of oil, natural gas and mineral resources,” declares the Times. “This, in turn, has touched off a scramble among nations to determine who owns what on the ocean floor. Unless the United States ratifies the treaty, it will not have a seat at the table when it comes time to sort out competing claims.”

The Times’ Ploy

This raises the question of whether the “table” is stacked against us. What’s more, the Times, which opposes oil drilling in our own Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), will certainly not favor extracting the oil, gas and minerals in the Arctic for our own benefit, whether we are at the table or not. So dangling the prospect of getting these resources from the U.N. is just a ploy by the paper’s editorial writers to pass the treaty.

This kind of argument, however, was persuasive with Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee who fretted that unless we ratified the treaty, the U.S. would  not be able to extract oil, gas and minerals off her state’s shoreline in the North Pole region.

The Times and other media fail to remind the public that American explorers were the first to the North Pole in the early 1900s and our nuclear submarines were under the Pole in the 1950s, four decades before the Russians made their bogus claim. One of those U.S. subs, the U.S.S. Nautilus, claimed the area for America.

By ratifying the treaty, the U.S. will give up its historical claims to the North Pole region and throw its fate to mostly foreign arbitrators and “experts” on bodies such as the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf that are stacked against us. This is a process that will end up denying Americans access to the oil, gas and minerals that the treaty will supposedly give us. The alternative is to work on a bilateral or multilateral basis, perhaps through a forum such as the Arctic Council, to resolve any disputes over who owns what.

Urging A Full Senate Vote

The Times went on to say that the vote in the committee was “expected to favor the treaty” but the task facing the Democratic chairman, Joseph Biden of Delaware, and the ranking Republican member, Richard Lugar of Indiana, was “to produce not just a favorable vote but an overwhelming vote sufficient to persuade the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, to finally move on ratification.”

The treaty passed the committee by a 17-4 vote on October 31. Six Republicans on the committee voted for it. They were Senators Lugar, George Voinovich, Chuck Hagel, Bob Corker, John Sununu, and Lisa Murkowski. Four Republicans voted against it. They were Senators David Vitter, Jim DeMint, Norm Coleman, and Johnny Isakson.

The Times added, “There are many other reasons besides oil and gas to ratify this worthy document, not least the fact that it would allow the United States to play a leadership role on a whole range of global ocean issues, including overfishing and pollution.”

Here’s where we see the leftist agenda starting to emerge. The U.N.’s Law of the Sea Treaty is a major environmental accord that covers the land and the sea. Its prohibition on pollution from “land-based sources” is so broad that it could cover almost any form of economic and industrial activity. Indeed, AIM discovered that another treaty exclusively devoted to this topic and also up for Senate ratification defines land-based sources of pollution as including toilet flushes and shower discharges.

Years ago then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that the U.N. “is part of your daily life.” Little did we know that a U.N.-backed treaty covering toilet bowls would someday be submitted to the Senate for ratification. The Times and the Post can be expected to endorse that one, too.

What You Can Do

If you have not done so, please order AIM’s new book, The Death of Talk Radio?. Please consider a special contribution to AIM so that we can conduct a national advertising campaign for the book and save the First Amendment from a liberal assault.

Send the other enclosed postcards or cards and letters of your own choosing to Mark Masters of Talk Radio Network and Senator Daniel Inouye of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Ready to fight back against media bias?
Join us by donating to AIM today.


Comments are turned off for this article.