At one point the Clinton Administration objected to a plan by the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) to revisit one of the "presidential sites" that lay at the centre of the last crisis with Baghdad. Madeleine Albright, the Secretary of State, is even said to have intervened personally to urge restraint in a recent telephone call to Richard Butler, the Unscom chairman. America appears to have concluded that Iraq is trying to provoke it into military retaliation that could rip apart the already fraying support for continued UN sanctions. After Iraq's decision last week to suspend all co-operation with UN inspectors, Bill Richardson, President Clinton's UN representative, insisted that the United States would not be "goaded by Iraq" into military action. During the last stand-off, Washington spent $1.5 billion (910 million) to deploy troops, warplanes and aircraft carriers to the Gulf only to be criticised for having no clear military objective. That crisis ended in February when Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, negotiated a memorandum of understanding with President Saddam Hussein guaranteeing UN inspectors access to all sites in the country.
Despite its reservations about the conditions placed on access to eight "presidential sites", the United States joined the rest of the 15-nation Security Council in endorsing Mr Annan's deal. But Washington insisted that the Security Council also warn Iraq that any violation of the memorandum would have "the severest consequences" - diplomatic code for military retaliation.
When the Security Council met to respond to Iraq's latest defiance, neither the United States nor any other country raised the prospect of military action. "Consequences were not mentioned," noted one Security Council ambassador present at the closed-door session.
Yesterday Unscom announced that it had suspended inspections of new sites but would continue to monitor sites already identified by inspectors. Only when the Security Council closes the files on biological and chemical and nuclear weapons, as well as ballistic missiles, can the UN oil embargo imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait be lifted. But Iraq must also fear new discoveries by UN teams. The inspectors found traces of VX nerve gas on missile fragments it had excavated in Iraq, casting doubt on Baghdad's assertions that it had never put the lethal agent into a weapon.
Tests also revealed anthrax on fragments from more excavated missiles than Iraq had admitted to possessing. Iraqi officials said they had simply mixed up the number of missiles filled with anthrax, previously put at five, and those loaded with botulinum toxin, earlier put at 16. But simply reversing the figures raises a host of new questions about the whole production line that Iraq has failed to answer. "Their story is beginning to come undone," one diplomat said.
Fairfax, Virginia -- Gun control doesn't work -- even as a smokescreen for scandal. "The Rose Garden ceremony has less to do with the NRA than DNA," said Mrs. Tanya K. Metaksa with the National Rifle Association of America. "Ever since he was Candidate Clinton, the President has used gun control to mask scandal or unpopularity, and today's gun control proposal serves the same purpose. The Executive Director, NRA Institute for Legislative Action, elaborated:
* "First, the Brady Act doesn't expire; one can't extend something that doesn't expire. The waiting period component of the Act transforms into the superior Instant Check November 30, 1998. This law --inclusive of the Instant Check system -- was praised and signed by President Clinton. It would not have passed Congress in any other form -- especially as a permanent waiting period on 18 states!
* "Second, the Instant Check was praised by Mrs. Sarah Brady in the Washington Post as "a standard for the nation." Small wonder, as one Instant Check state can boast of more arrests than all 19 Brady-wait states combined.
* "Third, Mrs. Brady told Washingtonian Magazine that the waiting period is "not a panacea. It's not going to stop crimes of passion or drug-related crimes."
* "Fourth, the U.S. Congress is in every way committed to achieving safety through education, re-building individual responsibility through tough sentencing and protecting freedom, especially the Second Amendment freedom to protect yourself and your family. [See addendum for recent Congressional achievements.]
* "Fifth, academics -- a former Clinton appointee among them -find waiting periods ineffective. [See attached addendum.]
* "Sixth, the President should be disinclined to threaten to veto the massive appropriations bill for the Commerce, Justice and State Departments and blame the veto on firearms regulation issues. That same bill appropriates funds for the Office of Independent Counsel."
DENVER - The chairman of the House Resources Committee has been accused of conducting a "witch hunt" after asking the U.S. Forest Service's southwestern office to disclose whether its employees are active in the environmental movement.
In a July 28 letter, Rep. Don Young, Alaska Republican, asked whether the office's workers are members of or contribute money to environmental groups that were involved in a recent deal with the Forest Service to restrict grazing near bodies of water in Arizona and New Mexico. The letter came after a July 15 committee hearing at which ranchers complained they were excluded from negotiations over the restrictions, which have made it more difficult for their herds to reach water. "It [Mr. Young's letter] is absolutely appropriate," said Erik Ness, communications director for the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau.
"If they've got this raging conflict of interest, they should recuse themselves. Judges and congressmen do it all the time -- why shouldn't they?" But environmentalists have likened Mr. Young's letter to McCarthyism and warned that his inquiry threatens the employees' First Amendment right to freedom of association. "What's next? Library records? Video-store rentals? Church membership? We don't need any more big brotherism in this country," said William H. Meadows, president of the Wilderness Society. "It will be a sad day when we have to start telling our bosses which groups we belong to."
Eleanor Towns, forester for the Forest Service's southwestern region, is drafting a response to Mr. Young's letter, but a list of employee memberships is unlikely to be included, said a colleague. "We're not aware of our employees' political affiliations -- that isn't something we would collect," said regional spokeswoman Carolyn Bye. "And we're concerned about their First Amendment rights. He asked us if we're aware, and our response will be that we're not aware."
Mr. Young's inquiry was one of 19 questions addressed to Mrs. Towns stemming from agreements reached last spring after environmentalists sued to force the Forest Service to comply with the Endangered Species Act.
The Southwest Center for Biological Diversity and Forest Guardians argued that the agency had failed to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service over grazing's impact on a half-dozen endangered fish and bird species. Most of the species are located in the vast Gila National Forest in New Mexico and the Apache-Sitgraves National Forest in Arizona.
Rather than go to court, the Forest Service struck a deal in April with the environmental organizations that called for fencing off the most vulnerable riparian areas. Ranchers tried to stop the deal in court with a temporary restraining order, but their motion was denied a week later. They accused the agency of leaking documents to the environmentalists and excluding ranchers from talks over the agreement.
Dave Stewart, the Forest Service's acting regional director for rangeland management, said the documents were available to environmentalists under the Freedom of Information Act. As for excluding the ranchers who held the grazing permits, it wasn't necessary to include them because they weren't directly involved in the lawsuit, he said.
Mr. Stewart said he doubted the restrictions had caused much hardship because many of the areas were already fenced or had no cattle. The grazing restrictions affected eight of the region's 11 national forests and about 80 ranches, he said.
Angry ranchers held two rallies last month in New Mexico to protest the restrictions. "We don't think it's appropriate for the Forest Service to be doing backroom deals that put people out of business without talking to the people vested in the case," said Mr. Ness.
Mr. Stewart said he hoped to ease some of the ranchers' fears at a meeting with the Farm Bureau next week. As for charges that the Forest Service is too closely allied with environmentalists, he said "it's possible" that some employees are Sierra Club members. "I personally do not know of anyone who belongs to these groups, but we're a large organization, so I can't say we don't," said Mr. Stewart. "But it certainly isn't a conscious decision or an institutional decision."
Hawaii's annexation by the United States could be declared invalid, according to a United Nations report.
The report said the situation of native Hawaiians now takes on a "special complexion" because of, among other reasons, President Clinton's November 1993 Apology Resolution to native Hawaiians.
The study recommends Hawaii be returned to a U.N. List of Non-Self Governing Territories - a list of indigenous peoples colonized by another country. Such action could make Hawaii eligible for decolonization as well as a U.N.-sponsored plebiscite.
The 73-page unedited final report, submitted after nine years of reviewing treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements between nations and indigenous peoples, was filed July 30 in Geneva.
For Hawaiian groups such as Ka Lahui Hawaii and Ka Pakaukau, which have pushed the sovereignty issue at the international level for nearly two decades, the timing couldn't be better.
Over the next two days, Hawaiians and others will gather at Iolani Palace to observe Hawaii's centennial annexation anniversary.
An international audience
"Its perfect timing," said Mililani Trask, an attorney and governor of Ka Lahui Hawaii. "I couldn't have asked for anything more."
Trask said this is the first official U.N. document that not only makes reference to Hawaii, but finds against the validity of the treaty of annexation and calls for the United Nations to re-list Hawaii as a colony.
Attorney Hayden Burgess said, "Many of us have been waiting for the report for many years." But it is just the first step in a long process the U.S. government undoubtedly will fight, he said.
"The United States is not going to give up that easily," he said, pointing out that the nation has been trying to abolish the committee that would review the issue.
Burgess has been to the United Nations many times to ask that Hawaii be re-listed as a colony, speaking for local organizations and the World Council for Indigenous Peoples.
Trask said that the report, expected to be posted on the U.N. Web site on Saturday, shows that an international audience is watching with interest how the United States handles its native Hawaiian situation, one which U.S. State Department officials consider a "domestic problem."
"It means that we now have a clear interest being expressed by other states (nations) to support our effort and expressing interest now on receiving the real story about what's happening in Hawaii," she said.
Trask, who received a copy of the report in Geneva, will speak about it tomorrow during the annexation events.
Naysayers, she said, have repeatedly doubted whether Hawaiian activists would be effective in the international arena. But the report goes a long way to show how viable these international claims really are, she said.
Both Ka Lahui and Ka Pakaukau believe there isn't any way to achieve Hawaiian autonomy or independence within the U.S. system. But there is in the international system.
Treaty 'appears unequal'
Miguel Alfonso Martinez of Cuba, the special chairman who prepared the report for the U.N. Working Group on Indigenous Populations, wrote that Clinton's apology resolution recognizes the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy took place unlawfully.
"By the same token, the 1897 treaty of annexation between the United States and Hawaii appears as an unequal treaty that could be declared invalid on those grounds, according to international law of the times," said Martinez, who was appointed to head this project by the U.N. human rights commissioner.
"It follows that the case of Hawaii could be re-entered on the list of nonself-governing territories of the United Nations and resubmitted to the bodies in the organization competent in the field of decolonization," he said.
Hawaii was placed on the U.N. list in 1946 as a colony under the United States, but was removed in 1959 when it became an American state. Others on the list include Guam, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico, which was removed from the list previously, but returned, Trask said.
The General Assembly of the United Nations voted to put New Caledonia back on the list in the late 1980s over protests of the United States, France and Great Britain. But the political atmosphere has changed, Burgess said. "Now there is very little opposition to the U.S."
If Hawaii is returned to the list, he said, the first most important question will be: "Who are the people to be decolonized? Is it only native Hawaiians, or is it all of those who suffered as a result of the overthrow?
"The thing Hawaii needs to address is to see itself in the mirror and ask itself, who are we who have been decolonized? I don't think it's going to work to just limit it to the native Hawaiian race. It was a nation that was overthrown, not just native Hawaiians."
Then, if the matter reaches the voting stage, the question will be who votes, Burgess said. "The exercise of self-determination must be done by people who were colonized." And they must be given choices, he said, such as whether they want to maintain state status, or be independent, or have a free association with the United States.
The working group, which recently met, sent the Martinez report to the U.N. Subcommission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, where it will accept testimony from U.N. members and indigenous groups.
A final edited version goes to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, and to the U.N. General Assembly, for adoption.
So far, the United Nations has accepted three progress drafts as official U.N. documents, including one that contained accounts by Queen Liliuokalani on the push by foreigners to limit the monarchy's power and to seek annexation.
Liliuokalani's description of Hawaii's political climate during her time changed the complexion of the issue, Trask said.
'Give our people the choice'
Meanwhile, Ka Pakaukau's Kekuni Blaisdell told a U.N. decolonization committee seminar this June in Nadi, Fiji, that 17 colonies remain on the U.N. list, with three in the Pacific pressing for self-determination with an option for independence.
Blaisdell said colonialism in the Pacific, in various forms, has accelerated and intensified rather than declined. The United Nations in 1990 mandated to eradicate colonialism by the year 2000.
"It is imperative," he said, "that we indigenous peoples become more involved in the dominant, western decolonization process, that we generate our own initiatives and that such actions be recognized."
Entitled to vote
A U.N.-supervised plebiscite would entitle Hawaiians to vote for a form of government, such as incorporation as a U.S. state, free association or an independent or autonomous government.
Hawaiian groups will focus lobbying efforts on U.N. member nations that signed treaties with Hawaii before it became a state.
"We're not saying give Hawaii independence, we're just saying re-list Hawaii," Trask said. "Have the U.N. take a look at it, and give our people the opportunity to make a choice, which we never had in 1959."
Tom Coffman, whose book "Nation Within" about America's annexation of Hawaii has generated widespread discussion, said the U.N. report is "really important because what I've found in my research of the period of 1893 to 1898 . . . was that over and over the question of whether Hawaiians would be allowed to vote on annexation came up, and over and over, the Republic government conspired with annexationists in Washington to prevent Hawaiians from voting.
Russia's financial markets staggered Thursday as Moscow's deepening economic crisis provoked fears of social and political upheaval. The ripples from what Russian state television called "Black Thursday" in Russia's stock, bond and currency markets touched markets in Europe and on Wall Street, where growing concern about Russia's problems helped drive the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 93 points.
Worries that Russia and its banks will soon run out of money and default on their debts -- combined with a call by currency speculator George Soros for Russia to devalue the ruble -- precipitated a jump in interest rates to as high as 210 percent in Moscow. Russia's main stock index plummeted 15 percent before the government suspended trading.
The RTS stock index recouped some losses when trading resumed, but closed down 6.5 percent at 101 -- a mere point above the 100 level at which the index was launched in September 1995.
The ruble, which had held steady when Russia's crisis broke out in June, slumped Thursday as investors scrambled to get out of Russia's markets, prompted in part by fresh warnings from Wall Street's two leading credit agencies of a heightened risk of default and political unrest in Russia.
Russia's central bank at one point imposed controls on currency trading, but that only heightened fears that the situation was getting beyond control. "The meltdown in Russian financial markets has reached the terminal phase," Mr. Soros wrote in a letter to the Financial Times. "The banking system is ... pretty well wiped out," he said. The alternatives "are default or hyper-inflation. Either would have devastating financial and political consequences."
Mr. Soros, who has extensive holdings in Russia, urged Moscow to stop spending its dwindling reserves, which are down to $17 billion, and allow the ruble to drop by 15 percent to 20 percent. Mr. Soros also called on the West to give Russia another $15 billion in loans, on top of the $23 billion provided last month in connection with an economic reform program administered by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
That suggestion got a cold shoulder, though Group of Seven finance ministers said they were discussing what to do to calm Russian markets. "Russia must continue to withstand the pressures it is facing and implement the tough measures we just agreed upon," IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus told reporters in Avila, Spain.
White House Press Secretary Michael McCurry also stressed that Russia's severe problems are Moscow's to solve. "It is critical that the Russian government act quickly to restore confidence in their economy," he said. "The international community has a big stake."
Russian Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko pledged to stick with the austerity program and railed against the financial markets. "Unfortunately, what's happening on the markets belongs in the realm of psychology," he told reporters in Moscow. "There are at present no financial grounds for a deterioration in the situation."
Russian officials also disparaged Mr. Soros' suggested devaluation, which would allow the ruble to fall in line with this year's 20 percent drop in world oil prices. Oil is Russia's principal source of revenue.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin has trumpeted the stable ruble and low inflation of around 4 percent a year, compared to the four-digit inflation that followed the collapse of Communist rule in 1991, as his biggest economic achievements. But Russia's cash shortage has deprived millions of workers and retirees of pensions and wages, prompting protests. The Communist opposition, which dominates the lower house of parliament, or Duma, has sought to exploit that social unrest by backing nationwide protests this fall.
Thursday, Communist leaders softened their stand against holding a special session of the Duma to consider legislation Mr. Yeltsin has submitted to carry out the IMF reform program. Their earlier refusal to cooperate helped unhinge the financial markets. Wall Street ratings agencies said the potential for political and social unrest is behind the loss of confidence in Russia.
"The economy is sliding into a deep recession, which on current trends, will persist well into next year," said Standard & Poor's Corp. "However the current financial crisis is resolved, the Yeltsin government's political standing is sure to suffer lasting damage."
Moody's Investors Service warned that the worsening economic and social climate could cause a change of government in parliamentary elections in 1999 and the presidential election in 2000, producing "less reform-minded" politicians.
"There's a panic state" in the Russian markets, said Marc Prosser of Money Garden Financial Group in New York, because "political instability is the next logical step if the economy collapses."
"The Communists want to destabilize the government and retake power, and they can do that by simply doing nothing" and blaming Mr. Yeltsin as the situation unravels, he said.
Sen. Bob Smith has succeeded in amending an upcoming appropriations bill to beat back the latest wave of Clinton administration disrespect for two key elements of a free citizenry -- privacy and the right to keep and bear arms. Smith's amendment to the Justice-State-Commerce appropriations bill would foil FBI plans to keep records of private identifying information on law-abiding citizens who buy guns. The amendment also forbids a proposed tax on gun purchases, and authorizes citizens to sue if the FBI doesn't observe these restrictions.
Senator Smith is to be praised for keeping his eye on some balls that might have been lost in the smoke of scandal and misinformation that the Clinton Administration seems endlessly to emit. Actually, few things could make the need for vigorous defense of 2nd Amendment rights clearer than the ongoing spectacle of Clinton contempt for the citizens he is supposed to serve. For the 2nd Amendment is really in the Constitution to give men like Bill Clinton something to think about when their ambition gets particularly over-inflated.
The Second Amendment was not put into the Constitution by the Founders merely to allow us to intimidate burglars, or hunt rabbits to our hearts' content. This is not to say that hunting game for the family dinner, or defending against personal dangers, were not anticipated uses for firearms, particularly on the frontier. But these things are not the real purpose of the Amendment.
The Founders added the 2nd Amendment so that when, after a long train of abuses, a government evinces a methodical design upon our natural rights, we will have the means to protect and recover our rights. That is why the right to keep and bear arms was included in the Bill of Rights.
In fact, if we make the judgment that our rights are being systematically violated, we have not merely the right, but the duty, to resist and overthrow the power responsible. That duty requires that we always maintain the material capacity to resist tyranny, if necessary, something that it is very hard to do if the government has all the weapons. A strong case can be made, therefore, that it is a fundamental DUTY of the free citizen to keep and bear arms.
In our time there have been many folks who don't like to be reminded of all this. And they try, in their painful way, to pretend that the word "people" in the 2nd Amendment means something there that it doesn't mean in any one of the other nine amendments in the Bill of Rights. They say that, for some odd reason, the Founders had a lapse, and instead of putting in "states" they put in "people." And so it refers to a right inherent in the state government.
This position is incoherent, and has been disproved by every piece of legitimate historical evidence. At one point in Jefferson's letters, for example, he is talking about the militia, and he writes, "militia -- every able-bodied man in the state. ..." The militia was every able-bodied man in the state. It had nothing to do with the state government. The words "well-regulated" had to do with organizing that militia and drilling it in the style of the 19th century, but "militia" itself referred to the able-bodied citizens of the state or commonwealth -- not to the state government.
It would make no sense whatsoever to restrict the right to keep and bear arms to state governments, since the principle on which our polity is based, as stated in the Declaration, recognizes that any government, at any level, can become oppressive of our rights. And we must be prepared to defend ourselves against its abuses.
But the movement against 2nd Amendment rights is not just a threat to our capacity to defend ourselves physically against tyranny. It is also part of the much more general assault on the very notion that human beings are capable of moral responsibility. This is a second and deeper reason that the defense of the 2nd Amendment is essential to the defense of liberty.
Advocates of banning guns think we can substitute material things for human self-control, but this approach won't wash. It is the human moral will that saves us from violence, not the presence or absence of weapons. We should reject utterly the absurd theory that weapons are the cause of violence.
Consider, for example, the phony assertion that certain weapons should be banned because "they have no purpose except to kill people." It is people that kill people, and they can use countless kinds of weapons to do so, if killing is in their hearts where love of justice should be. This week a 7-year old boy in Chicago apparently used a pair of underwear to commit murder, because he wanted a bike.
So let's get down to the real issue: are we moral adults, or are we moral children? If we are adults, then we have the capacity to control our will even in the face of passion, and to be responsible for the exercise of our natural rights. If we are only children, then all the particularly dangerous toys must be controlled by the government. But this "solution" implies that we can trust government with a monopoly on guns, even though we cannot trust ourselves with them. This is not a "solution" I trust.
Anyone who is serious about controlling violence must recognize that it can only be done by rooting violence out of the human heart. That's why I don't understand those who say "save us from guns," even while they cling to the coldly violent doctrine that human life has no worth except what they "choose" to assign to it.
If we want to end violence in our land, we must warm the hearts of all Americans with a renewed dedication to the God-given equality of all human beings. We must recapture the noble view of man as capable of moral responsibility and self-restraint -- of assuming responsibility for governing himself. This is the real meaning of the 2nd Amendment, and indeed of the entire American project of ordered liberty.
It is the business of every citizen to preserve justice in his heart, and the material capacity, including arms, to resist tyranny. These things constitute our character as a free people, which it is our duty to maintain. And to fulfill our duty to be such a people we shall have to return to the humble subjection to the authority of true moral principle that characterized our Founders, and that characterized every generation of Americans, until now. We must regain control of ourselves.
Most deeply, then, the assertion of 2nd Amendment rights is the assertion that we intend to control ourselves, and submit to the moral order that God has decreed must govern our lives. And just as we have no right to shirk our duty to submit to that moral order, so we have no right to shirk our duty to preserve unto ourselves the material means to discipline our government, if necessary, so that it remains a fit instrument for the self-government of a free people. The preservation of 2nd Amendment rights, for the right reasons, is a moral and public duty of every citizen.
The Clinton Administration's flirtations with executive tyranny should remind us that we have a duty to remain capable of disciplining our government if necessary. Bill Clinton's comprehensive avoidance of personal responsibility for his own actions, and our revulsion at the kind of character which that avoidance has produced in him, should be a kind of horrific preview of the kind of people we will all become if we continue to let our government treat us as though we were incapable of moral self-control. And Senator Smith's successful effort to defeat several policies that treat us that way is precisely the kind of principled defense of our liberty -- and of the premises of our liberty -- that make him so worthy to be a representative of a free people.
"Our findings show that the climate can warm up suddenly without any connection to human activity," said Aldo Shemesh, head of environmental sciences at the Weizman Institute in Rehovot, Israel.
A report on the study was appearing today in the journal Science.
Shemesh said that documenting ancient, natural climate changes will help modern science more accurately determine the manmade effects on the future climate.
He and his colleagues gathered sediment cores from the bottom of Hausberg Tarn, a small lake 14,000 up the side of Mount Kenya in Kenya. They used a carbon-14 dating technique to determine that some of the bottom material was more than 3,000 years old.
From the corings, the scientists then extracted fossils of algae that lived during those ancient times. By analyzing the ratio of two isotopes of oxygen, they could determine the temperature of the water when the algae lived.
The researchers found that the waters in Hausberg Tarn suddenly warmed about seven degrees F between 350 BC and 450 AD. The warming indicates a fundamental shift in the climate of equatorial East Africa occurred during the period, the scientists said.
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