Executive Order 12986 & Alex Jones

Discussion in 'The Constitutional & RKBA Forum' started by Zigzag2, Aug 5, 2003.

  1. Zigzag2

    Zigzag2 Guest


    One of Alex's favorite claims is that the US government is giving away its land to the United Nations. He claims that Executive Order 12986, signed by President Clinton on January 18, 1996, effectuated this transfer. Obviously if this was true, it would be a pretty serious charge.

    Unfortunately for Alex, reading the Order itself dispenses with this ridiculous notion. As it turns out, the EO grants immunity from lawsuits to an international environmental organization, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCNN). Indeed, it doesn't even give full protection to the IUCNN, because the EO specifically withholds immunity for the organization's property and assets similar to foreign governments, immunity from search and confiscation, and immunity for acts in their official capacities. The EO actually gives pretty watered-down protection to the IUCNN!

    Where does President Clinton get the power to do this, you might ask? The answer is a statute passed by Congress in the 1940's, today codified as 22 U.S.C. §288, et. seq. It gives the president the power to designate via Executive Order international organizations which will be immune from suit, and also permits him to specify which types of immunity will be given to the organization in question. A later amendment to the act makes the IUCNN an eligible organization, so it's not just the President but also the Congress which thinks this organization should be given immunity.

    This power has been used fairly consistently since its inception. The annotated edition of the code lists 72 organizations which enjoy immunity, including such benign organizations as the World Tourism Organization, the United Bureau for the Protection of Intellectual Property, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Being on the list is hardly permanent as well; 10 organizations are listed as having their immunity revoked.

    The actual text of Executive Order 12986 is available from the White House web page here. You can also find it via searches on the Government Printing Office's web page in the C.F.R. and Federal Register, but the WAIS interface is kind of clunky. If you'd prefer paper researching, the Federal Register cite is 61 Fed. Reg. 1693 (1996); the C.F.R. citation is 3 C.F.R., 1996 Comp., 156.

    The text of 28 U.S.C. §288 is available at the House of Representatives Law Library web page here, and from Cornell Law School here. The Cornell page is only the text of the statute itself, so it's a bit easier to read; the House page is an annotated edition of the code, which is nice because it includes a list of each organization to enjoy §288's protections, as well as organizations that have been removed from the list.

    Alex backs away from this proposition when confronted with the facts on-air. He usually retreats into some notion that by granting immunity to the IUCNN, we're setting the stage for a takeover. Note two important things about this, though. First, it shows his original claim was wrong; a preliminary step is not the same thing as an actual land giveaway, so his initial claim is simply false. Second, like all good conspiracy theories, the "preliminary step" notion is completely unverifiable. Heck, President Clinton blowing his nose could be a "preliminary step." That's a meaningless argument that isn't grounded in reality.

    Please also note that I'm not saying granting this organization immunity is a good thing; it may not be. It may be a poor policy choice. Maybe we shouldn't give international organizations lawsuit immunity. There's a legitimate argument to be made there. However, it's not a land giveaway. That much is for sure. Alex's claim just isn't factually true.
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