In another example of "abuse of power", we read this from the King County Journal:
"It's just not right," said Capt. Bill Hebner of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, which is seeing an increase in incidents of people trying to domesticate wild animals.
Many well intentioned people just assume the animals are orphaned or bring injured animals home to nurse them back to health.
It would seem that a woman, Diane Erdmann, acquired a duckling from a friend that was injured by a crow. Diane Erdmann took it upon herself to attempt to nurture the duckling back to health. Apparently, her first mistake was not familiarizing herself with state and federal laws concerning the possession of "wildlife".
The article continues:
The only way to legally own a duck is to buy it from a business that is state-certified to raise and sell waterfowl, Hebner said. If Erdmann had legally obtained Gooey, she would have paperwork and the duck would have markings.
It is possible Erdmann violated state and federal law by possessing wild waterfowl, a misdemeanor crime, Hebner said.
So, we're to gather that the only thing standing between Diane Erdmann and her duck is government's endorsement on a piece of paper giving her permission to possess the duck. One would have to then assume that the State owns the duck. How else could the State permit others to take possession of the duck? How else could the State certify businesses to raise and sell waterfowl. The State would have to lay claim to all waterfowl.
The subject of Diane "possessing wild waterfowl" is actually not what pushed my hot-button... It's this:
Diane Erdmann said the two Fish and Wildlife officers stormed into her place of business at Northwest Territorial Mint, demanded the duck, and threatened to arrest her.
When Erdmann didn't comply, an officer lunged toward her to grab the duck from her arms, striking Erdmann in the chest and knocking her backward, she said.
"They were not interested in my explanation," Erdmann said of the officers. "They treated it like a drug raid."
A security-camera video of the incident is "kind of inconclusive," said Auburn police Sgt. Bill Pierson.
The case has been forwarded to the city attorney for potential charges, though Pierson said: "My instinct tells me he won't be charged. Those guys are state officers so they can use reasonable force."
Are we to assume that if you are associated with the state, you have the permission of the state to use force to gain compliance? That is what he said, "Those guys are state officers so they can use reasonable force."
Its OK by government for it's officers to knock you around a bit to get you to comply with the will of it's officers. A little force won't hurt anyone. Hell, this must be the same force officers used to get Jean Charles De Menezes to comply with their will!
Don't get me wrong. If the situation warrants an escalation of restraint, then you need to use force. But, when there is no obvious threat to the public (i.e. a woman clutching a duckling to her bosom), you had better keep your "force" in check.
Unfortunately, we have seen state officials dishing out truckloads of "force" with no accountability when that force is later proven to be unwarranted. Accountability is what keeps tyranny in check.
On a side note, I find it interesting that you can have sex with a horse, but you can't possess wildlife.
Iran, the NPT, and Section 403
Below is Section 403 from the 'Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2006 and 2007' (or HR 2601 PCS) which deals with the International Atomic Energy Agency. More to the point, it deals with articles of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that our Congress finds to be lacking. Congress has decided that it no longer thinks that sovereign countries can develop nuclear energy (for peaceful purposes like power generation) without creating nuclear bombs.
Congress, therefore, has decided that the understanding that all countries have an 'inalienable right... to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination' does not guarantee every country has an inalienable right to enrich uranium or reprocess plutonium. This makes about as much sense as saying you have the right to develop, create, manufacture, possess, and utilize automobiles, but you cannot produce gasoline. Without one, the other is useless. Congress is saying that the intent of the NPT was to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear explosive devices (which is true), but then attempts to twist and bend the words of the NPT, Additional Protocol, and the IAEA to say that the enrichment of uranium and reprocessing of plutonium is also banned. This is false.
What I have done here is take the language of Section 403 and added some links to critical parts for further understanding and research. If one reads it without fact checking the sources, one would be compelled to agree with the arguments put forth by Congress. Unfortunately, most of this Section is just lies and a feeble attempt by Congress to do an end-run on the NPT. The NPT has a provision for amending it, if the United States wanted to pursue that option. Congress doesn't because they know their interpretations of Article IV and Article X are just plain wrong.
Now, here is my take on why this section is here at this particular point and time (remember, the NPT has been in force for 37 years, why now?): Our government needs an excuse to pick a fight with Iran. We are setting the stage for Iran to fail in it's attempt to develop peaceful nuclear energy. President Bush has appointed John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton is the neocons hit-man for Iran. His mission at the UN is to try to shake things up at the IAEA with regards to Iran and the NPT. He is suppose to push for unreasonable sanctions against Iran.
Meanwhile, Congress is pushing to redefine the meaning of the NPT to say that a country cannot enrich uranium or reprocess plutonium. It also wants to change the rules for withdrawing from the treaty contained in Article X. Congress wants to change the meaning of 'right to withdraw from the Treaty' to mean that a member country has to surrender all the nuclear related technology they acquired while a party to that treaty when they withdraw. If Congress is successful, Iran will have to halt all its enrichment plans. This will cripple Iran's nuclear energy program and will be unacceptable to them. If Iran decides that it no longer wants to be a party to the treaty, they will be forced to surrender all their nuclear related equipment, materials, and technology to the IAEA, which would also not be acceptable. Iran will have but one choice left it, noncompliance. Congress will then have it's excuse.
(Note: While I'm writing this, an article just popped up on Yahoo! News: Iran Poised to Restart Nuclear Activities.
TEHRAN, Iran - Iranian technicians will break U.N. seals on the Isfahan nuclear plant on Monday, allowing uranium processing to resume, a spokesman for Iran's Supreme National Security Council said.
Iran's announcement could lead to Iran being hauled before the United Nations Security Council to face sanctions, as previously called for by the United States. The decision sparked an immediate warning from the European Union, which said any move to restart enrichment would damage EU-Iran trade talks.)
TITLE IV--INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS*
SEC. 403. REFORM OF THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY.
(a) Findings With Respect to the International Atomic Energy Agency- Congress finds the following:
(1) Efforts to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons capabilities would be enhanced by universal membership in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
(2) The enhanced authorities provided by the Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreements between the IAEA and Member States of the IAEA are indispensable to the ability of the IAEA to conduct inspections of nuclear facilities to a high degree of confidence.
(3) The national security interests of the United States would be enhanced by the universal ratification and implementation of the Additional Protocol.
(4) The national security interests of the United States would be enhanced by the rapid implementation by all Member States of the United Nations of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which prohibits all Member States from providing any form of support to non-state actors that attempt to manufacture, acquire, possess, develop, transport, transfer, or use nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons and their means of delivery, and requiring all Member States to adopt and enforce appropriate and effective domestic laws criminalizing such acts.
(5) The national security interests of the United States require that the IAEA possess sufficient authorities and resources to comprehensively and efficiently carry out its responsibilities for inspections and safeguards of nuclear facilities.
(6) Regularly assessed contributions of Member States to the regular budget of the IAEA are due in the first quarter of each calendar year.
(7) Currently, the United States does not pay its regularly assessed contribution to the regular budget of the IAEA until the last quarter of each calendar year.
(8) This delayed payment results in recurring shortages of funds for the IAEA, thus compromising its ability to conduct safeguards inspections and nuclear security activities.
(b) Findings With Respect to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty- Congress finds the following:
(1) The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (21 UST 483) (commonly referred to as the `Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty' or the `NPT') is the foundation for international cooperation to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons capabilities.
(2) The NPT was conceived, written, and ratified by State Parties as a treaty for the specific purpose of preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear explosive devices, as stated in the Preamble and first three Articles of the NPT.
(3) The overriding priority of the NPT is preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear explosive devices.
(4) Article IV of the NPT conditions the `inalienable right to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination' on conformity with Articles I and II, which obligate signatories `not to manufacture of otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices'.
Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices.
Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
(5) Because the processes used for the enrichment of uranium and the reprocessing of plutonium for peaceful purposes are virtually identical to those needed for military purposes and thereby inherently pose an enhanced risk of proliferation, even under strict international inspections, Article IV of the NPT cannot be interpreted to recognize the inalienable right by every country to enrich uranium or reprocess plutonium.
1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of this Treaty.
2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also cooperate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.
(6) Because the factors needed for the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes are virtually identical to those required for the development of nuclear weapons and devices, Article X cannot be interpreted to allow a signatory country to develop a nuclear weapons program based on materials, facilities, and equipment it has acquired through its Article IV cooperation.
1. Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country. It shall give notice of such withdrawal to all other Parties to the Treaty and to the United Nations Security Council three months in advance. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events it regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.
2. Twenty-five years after the entry into force of the Treaty, a conference shall be convened to decide whether the Treaty shall continue in force indefinitely, or shall be extended for an additional fixed period or periods. This decision shall be taken by a majority of the Parties to the Treaty.
(c) Statement of Congress- Congress declares that--
(1) all provisions of the NPT must be interpreted within the context of preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear explosive devices;
(2) Article IV of the NPT, interpreted in conformity with the NPT's purpose, spirit, and freely undertaken obligations by State Parties, does not guarantee every country that is a State Party an inalienable right to enrich uranium or reprocess plutonium; and
(3) if a State Party chooses to exercise its Article X right of withdrawal from the NPT, such State Party must surrender all of the materials, facilities, and equipment it has acquired through its Article IV cooperation, and no State Party will be recognized as having legally exercised its Article X right of withdrawal from the NPT until it has surrendered all such materials, facilities, and equipment.
(d) Sense of Congress- It is the sense of Congress that--
(1) the Director General of the IAEA should strengthen efforts to secure universal ratification and implementation of the Additional Protocol; and
(2) the IAEA possesses statutory authority, including under Articles II, III, VIII, IX, XI, and XII of the IAEA Statute, to undertake nuclear security activities.
(e) Promotion of Additional Protocol and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540-
(1) UNIVERSAL RATIFICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION; FULL COMPLIANCE- The President shall take such steps as the President determines necessary to encourage--
(A) rapid universal ratification and implementation by Member States of the IAEA of the Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreements between the IAEA and Member States; and
(B) full compliance by all foreign countries with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which calls for the adoption and enforcement by all foreign countries of `appropriate effective laws which prohibit any non-State actor to manufacture, acquire, possess, develop, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery, in particular for terrorist purposes, as well as attempts to engage in any of the foregoing activities, participate in them as an accomplice, assist or finance them'.
(2) SUSPENSION OF UNITED STATES NON-HUMANITARIAN FOREIGN ASSISTANCE- The President is authorized to suspend United States non-humanitarian foreign assistance to any country that--
(A) has not signed and ratified the Additional Protocol; and
(B) has not fully complied with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540.
(A) IN GENERAL- Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act and annually thereafter until September 31, 2010, the Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on United States efforts to promote full compliance by all countries with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, with particular attention to the following:
(i) United States efforts in appropriate international organizations or fora to elaborate and implement international standards for such full compliance.
(ii) Steps taken by the United States to assist other countries to meet their obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540.
(B) SUBMISSION- The report required under this paragraph may be submitted together with the report on `Patterns of Global of Terrorism (sic)'.
(f) Payment at Beginning of Calendar Year- The Secretary of State shall take expeditious action to ensure that the United States regularly assessed contribution to the IAEA is made at the beginning of each calendar year.
(g) Authorization of Appropriations- In addition to amounts otherwise authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of State under this Act, there are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary such sums as may be necessary to permit the Secretary to ensure that the United States regularly assessed contribution of its annual dues to the IAEA is provided to the IAEA at the beginning of each calendar year to compensate for the current delayed payment described under subsection (b).