Author Archives: Michael Difensore

An Inconvenient Glacier: Study Shows Greenland Glacier Growing.

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An Inconvenient Glacier: Study Shows Greenland Glacier Growing

Written by James Murphy

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Over the past two decades, the Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland had been melting at what climate alarmists might term an alarming rate. However, a new study published in Nature Geoscience has concluded that since 2016, the Jakobshavn Glacier is now growing again.

Using airborne altimetry and satellite imagery data, the study concludes that since 2016, the glacier has been advancing. The data used was from NASA’s Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) mission. The study was conducted by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) with contributions from Remote Sensing Solutions in Barnstable, Massachusetts, and the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

The study traces the glacier’s growth spurt to a naturally occuring cycle of cooler water in the North Atlantic more than 600 miles south of the glacier. Researchers posit that the cold water was set in motion due to an effect known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which causes the Northern Atlantic to switch slowly between warm and cold every five to 20 years.

The water in Disko Bay, where the glacier meets the Atlantic, is now 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than it was just a few years ago, causing the Jakobshavn Glacier to grow. Water temperatures in the vicinity of the glacier are now colder than they’ve been since the mid-1980s.

And, boy, were the scientists surprised about it.

“At first, we didn’t believe it. We had pretty much assumed that Jakobshavn would just keep going on as it had over the last twenty years,” said Ala Khazendar, a research scientist at JPL and the lead author of the study.

Around 2012, Jakobshavn had been retreating at roughly 1.8 miles, and thinning at about 130 feet, annually. However, according to the study, it has been growing again at roughly those same rates since 2016.

As far as ice loss and its potential contribution to sea-level rise, the Jakobshavn glacier is one of the most important in the Northern Hemisphere.

“This was kind of a surprise. We kind of got used to a runaway system,” said ice and climate scientist Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. “The good news is that it’s a reminder that it’s not necessarily going that fast. But it is going.”

Box was not a part of the study, but he called Jakobshavn “arguably the most important Greenland glacier because it discharges the most ice in the Northern Hemisphere. For all of Greenland, it is king.”

Another NASA scientist, who was not part of the project, lauded the OMG mission for its groundbreaking scientific potential. Tom Wagner, NASA Headquarters program scientist for the cryosphere, said, “The OMG mission deployed new technologies that allowed us to observe a natural experiment, much as we would do in a laboratory, where variations in ocean temperature were used to control the flow of a glacier. Their findings — especially about how quickly the ice responds — will be important to projecting sea level rise in both the near and distant future.”

But in 2019, where climate is concerned, there can never be good news. Any study must be spun to include impending disaster.

Scientists connected to the study were quick to point out that the glacier’s growth is only an “interruption” of the expected long-term glacial melt supposedly caused by anthropogenic (man-made) global warming.

“Jakobshavn is getting a temporary break from this climate pattern. But in the long run, the oceans are warming. And seeing the oceans have such a huge impact on the glaciers is bad news for Greenland’s ice sheet,” according to Josh Willis of JPL, the principal investigator of OMG.

In other words, the growing glacier is only evidence of a brief respite from the scourge of man-made global warming. Once the North Atlantic Oscillation changes back to warmer water, future glacial melts will be catastrophic.

“All this is an indicator of how sensitive glaciers are to ocean temperatures,” Khazendar explained, hinting that that’s not a good thing.

“In the long run, we’ll probably have to raise our predictions of sea level rise again,” said Willis.

Climate scientists cannot simply report on findings without linking them to future disaster. Any study, even one showing an obvious slowdown in global warming — a growing glacier — must be linked to catastrophic climate change. It’s another sure sign that the study of climatology is as much political as it is scientific.

Negative Impact Of USMCA On U.S. Cattle Industry Predicted.

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Negative Impact of USMCA on U.S. Cattle Industry Predicted.

Written by Steve Byas

Thursday, 28 March 2019

“The likely impact of the USMCA [United States, Mexico, and Canada Agreement, which the Trump Administration is pushing to replace NAFTA] on the U.S. cattle industry will be substantial, and will be substantially negative,” predicted Bill Bullard of the R-CALF USA.

R-CALF USA filed its final submission to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) this week, in an effort to ensure that the ITC’s report to President Trump and Congress will accurately describe the likely impacts of USMCA on the American cattle industry. The report of the ITC is required under a 2015 law, assessing the likely impact of the USMCA on the U.S. economy in general, and on specific sectors of the economy in particular.

While Trump campaigned vigorously against NAFTA during his successful 2016 presidential run, R-CALF contends that “the USMCA adopts the same provisions in the original North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) regarding cattle and beef trade.”

And those NAFTA provisions were “disastrous to independent cattle producers because they empowered multinational beef packers to indiscriminately displace domestic cattle and beef production with cheaper, undifferentiated imports of both cattle and beef,” R-CALF argued. “This has substantially weakened the U.S. live cattle supply chain and infrastructure, which has substantially reduced competition for the industry and is contributing to the hollowing out of America’s rural communities.”

Rather than just make general statements, R-CALF cited very specific ways that the NAFTA agreement has harmed the U.S. cattle industry, noting that these provisions are continued under the proposed USMCA. “Twenty percent of all U.S. beef cattle operations exited the industry from 1994 to 2012,” the group said, citing the latest available census data.

The U.S. beef cow herd has declined to the lowest level in seven decades, with nearly three million head less than in 1994. Forty-eight percent of U.S. beef packing plants have left the industry since 1995.

Before NAFTA, the share of U.S. cattle producers of every consumer beef dollar was 56 percent — by 2017 it had declined to just 45 percent.

In short, R-CALF lamented, “NAFTA has displaced domestic beef and cattle production.” USMCA promises a continuation of the same policies of NAFTA.

“In conclusion,” Bullard explained, “because NAFTA incorporates NAFTA’s fundamentally flawed provisions, it should be expected that the USMCA will now cause the elimination of the critical mass of competitive marketing channels and industry infrastructure needed to sustain an independent family farm and ranch system of cattle production in the United States. Thus, the new USMCA will accelerate the destruction of the U.S. cattle industry as we know it today.” (Emphasis added.)

The only years that cow/calf returns per bred cow exceeded the NAFTA period’s $37 average [it was $50 during the seven years prior to NAFTA] was during the time that the U.S. banned Canadian cattle imports, in 2004-2005, and after the 2009 implementation of the country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law. Unfortunately, under pressure from the World Trade Organization (WTO), the U.S. Congress meekly repealed COOL in December 2015 for beef and pork products.

With this repeal of COOL, consumers can no longer know from what country their beef or their pork is coming. One of the requirements for “pure competition” is that a consumer be reasonably well-informed about the product for sale. Considering that the average American, given a choice, would be more likely to buy beef from western Oklahoma than western Canada, it is clear that the repeal of COOL for beef and pork is detrimental to the American beef and pork producers.

Bullard, when asked about COOL by The New American, explained that the argument made by those who lobbied for Congress to terminate COOL for beef and pork is that beef from foreign countries “meets the same health and safety standards” as U.S. beef. But, Bullard said, “This notion that beef is beef is false.”

Bullard offered as an example of why it is false. He said that U.S. cattle producers are required to obtain veterinarian certification before administering antibiotics, but this does not apply to any other nation. He said this is not the only difference, but rather that there are a “host of differences” between the requirements placed on American beef producers and their foreign competitors.

Finally, if the United States is going to remain a sovereign nation, Congress should make appropriate regulations on interstate commerce and foreign imports, not the WTO, and not agreements such as NAFTA, USMCA, and the like. Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives to Congress the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations,” and no provision is made in the Constitution for Congress to delegate that power to the executive branch, or to any foreign body, such as the UN, the WTO, or USMCA.

Hopefully, Congress will reassert itself and kill USMCA — the latest assault upon our national sovereignty. In other words, Put America First.

Earth Day Exposed As Hippie Envirohoax. Convicted Murderer, Leftist Ira Einhorn Co-Founded Earth Day.

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Forget Earth Day; Remember Murderer Einhorn, Its Co-founder, and the Bogus Claims of His Movement.

Thenewamerican.com

Written by R. Cort Kirkwood

April 22, 2019

It’s Earth Day again, so for the 49th time, mankind must suffer through another harangue about impending doom. But the one thing you won’t hear anywhere in that harangue is the bloody history of Earth Day’s illustrious co-founder, Ira Einhorn.

An inconvenient truth about him, as The Daily Caller quipped in borrowing Al Gore’s movie title, is this: He murdered his girlfriend in September 1977, composted her in a closet, fled to Europe, and hid for nearly two decades until the long arm of the law caught him.

Leftist Nutter Becomes Killer

Einhorn, who dubbed himself Unicorn, was “a tie-dye-wearing ecological guru and Philadelphia’s head hippie,” as NBC described the murderer in 2011.

The hirsute “charismatic spokesman” for the radical Left, however, “had a secret dark side,” which girlfriend Holly Maddux didn’t find out about until it was too late.

When Maddux broke up with Einhorn and split for New York, he told her to fetch her belongings from his apartment or he’d toss them in the street. “And so on Sept. 9, 1977, Maddux went back to the apartment that she and Einhorn had shared in Philadelphia to collect her things, and was never seen again,” NBC reported. “When Philadelphia police questioned Einhorn about her mysterious disappearance several weeks later, he claimed that she had gone out to the neighborhood co-op to buy some tofu and sprouts and never returned.”

The Unicorn lied.

Cops went back to his apartment 18 months later, NBC reported, after a neighbor “complained that a reddish-brown, foul-smelling liquid was leaking from the ceiling directly below Einhorn’s bedroom closet. Inside the closet, police found Maddux’s beaten and partially mummified body stuffed into a trunk that had also been packed with Styrofoam, air fresheners and newspapers.”

Cops arrested Einhorn, but he posted bail and fled the country in 1981. His attorney was future Senator Arlen Specter, who “assembled a group of his client’s supporters to serve as character witnesses, which helped Einhorn get released on bail,” OZY reported.

Lawmen nailed him in 1997, and while waging a four-year battle against extradition, the Associated Press reported, “Einhorn thumbed his nose at American authorities by appearing on television shows to discuss his plight and sipping wine while posing naked for photographers in his garden.”

Extradicted in 2001, Einhorn actually claimed the CIA murdered Maddux and framed Einhorn, NBC reported, because he was the real-life version of the man who knew too much. Einhorn expected jurors to believe the CIA whacked Maddux because Einhorn might spill the beans about the agency’s research into the paranormal.

Einhorn, who viewed himself as a “planetary enzyme,” and “catalyst for change,” told jurors about his “Virgo Moon,” AP reported.

The judge called him “an intellectual dilettante who preyed on the uninitiated, uninformed, unsuspecting and inexperienced.”

In 2002, a judge sentenced Einhorn to life in prison.

Envirohoax

The judge was on to something, and not just about Einhorn. The movement he helped found also preys upon the “uninitiated, uninformed, unsuspecting and inexperienced.” One might also say the credulous.

The American Enterprise Institute, using a no-longer-available article from Reason magazine, compiled a list of the myriad failed, but widely accepted, outlandish claims in 1970 from the movement’s leaders and its scientists, who retailed them as what they call “settled science,” or as Gore might say, “inconvenient truth:”

• The New York Times, after Earth Day 1: “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

• Population control fanatic Paul Erlich: “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

• Earth Day organizer Denis Hayes: “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.”

• Life magazine: “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…. By 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.”

• Ecologist Kenneth Watt: “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

Watch: Baby Monitor Films Ghost Lurking Near Child’s Crib?

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CoastToCoastAm.com

By Tim Binnall

A frightened family in Michigan is looking for a new home after their baby monitor filmed a ghostly figure lurking near their daughter’s crib. The strangeness reportedly began when Heather Brough woke the child up from a nap and noticed three purple scratches on her face. The marks were odd enough that the concerned mom decided to check her baby monitor to see if it may have recorded the moment that the youngster was injured.

To her profound horror, Brough was stunned to see that the camera filmed an eerie-looking figure swiftly walking across her daughter’s room. It would seem that the anomaly was not a physical intruder, however, as it appears to dissipate after a few steps, suggesting that it was some kind of apparition. According to Brough, the proverbial ghost sighting is not the first case of paranormal activity in the home, as the family has allegedly heard inexplicable sounds and a disembodied voice.

While they were able to tolerate the weirdness at first, they now fear that the spirit in their home is showing a more malevolent side. To that end, Brough believes that the scratches on her daughter’s face were caused by the entity since they did not match up with the child’s own hand. The incident has proven to be so unsettling to the family that they now plan to move out of the home as soon as they can rather than tempt fate and see what the ghostly presence may do next. What’s your take on the spooky video? Let us know at the Coast to Coast AM Facebook page.

2019 Bilderberg Group Meeting Underway

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coasttocoastam.com
By Tim Binnall

May 30, 2019

Today marks the start of the infamous annual gathering of global power brokers known as the Bilderberg Meeting. This year, the controversial confab is being held in Montreux, Switzerland and, although the group is notoriously secretive about the details of the conversations held at the event, a press release from the organization provides some insights into both the topics to be discussed this year as well as the participants who will be on hand.

According to organizers, there will be “about 130 participants from 23 countries” in attendance this year. Per usual, the guest list is replete with major players from the worlds of finance, industry, politics, and the media. While the vast majority of the individuals scheduled to attend are not exactly household names to anyone outside of their field of expertise, there are a handful of more high profile attendees who are rather noteworthy.

Perhaps the Bilderberg participant who is drawing the most attention from geopolitical pundits and curious conspiracy theorists is President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also reportedly expected to attend some portion of the event, although his name is, oddly, not on the official list issued by the organization. Other recognizable names who will be in Montreux this weekend are former Senate candidate from Georgia Stacey Abrams, former Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, and frequent Bilderberg Meeting attendee Henry Kissinger.

Although only the individuals in attendance will know the specifics of what is said during the three-day-long meeting, an agenda issued by the group provides, at least, a glimpse into what issues are apparently considered pressing to the proverbial ‘powers that be’ at this time. Among the unsurprising areas set to be discussed during the event are the current state of global powers Russia, China, and Europe. Other familiar topics on the list are climate change and Brexit.

Beyond those fairly run-of-the-mill issues on the agenda are a few somewhat more exotic topics which are particularly intriguing. Specifically, attendees plan on discussing artificial intelligence and the ethics surrounding this burgeoning technology, social media becoming weaponized, and “the importance of space.” This is actually the second year in a row that AI has been featured among the talking points for the Bilderberg Meeting, which seems to suggest that this advanced realm of computing is of significant interest to the global elite.

America´s Electoral College Prevents Mob rule And Keeps America A Republic.

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Preventing “The Tyranny of the Majority”

heritage.org

By Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.@EdFeulner

Founder:

Edwin J. Feulner is the founder and former president of The Heritage Foundation.

Key Points:

1. People often refer to the United States as a democracy, but technically speaking, that’s not true. It’s a republic.

2. The Founders were determined to forestall the inherent dangers of what James Madison called “the tyranny of the majority.”

3. In short, the Founders were looking out for the people in “flyover country” long before there were airplanes to fly over them.

People often refer to the United States as a democracy, but technically speaking, that’s not true. It’s a republic.

Big deal, you say? If you care about your rights, it is. The Founding Fathers knew their history well, so they knew better than to establish the U.S. as a democracy.

In a democracy, of course, the majority rules. That’s all well and good for the majority, but what about the minority? Don’t they have rights that deserve respect?

Of course they do. Which is why a democracy won’t cut it. As the saying goes, a democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner.

The Founders were determined to forestall the inherent dangers of what James Madison called “the tyranny of the majority.” So they constructed something more lasting: a republic. Something with checks and balances. A system of government carefully balanced to safeguard the rights of both the majority and the minority.

That led, most notably, to the bicameral structure of our legislative branch. We have a House of Representatives, where the number of members is greater for more populous states (which obviously favors those states), and the Senate, where every state from Rhode Island and Alaska to California and New York have exactly two representatives (which keeps less-populated states from being steamrolled).

Being a republic, we also don’t pick our president through a direct, majority-take-all vote. We have an Electoral College. And a lot of liberals don’t like that.

Their attacks on the College are nothing new, but the defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016 renewed their fury. After all, as they never tire of pointing out, Mrs. Clinton captured more of the popular vote than Donald Trump did. They see the Electoral College as an impediment to their political victories, therefore it’s got to go.

The latest attack comes via new lawsuits filed in federal courts in four states (Massachusetts, California, South Carolina and Texas). “Under the winner-take-all system, U.S. citizens have been denied their constitutional right to an equal vote in presidential elections,” said David Boies, an attorney who represented former Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 election.

I doubt Mr. Boies and his fellow attorneys are really ignorant of why we have an Electoral College. But it’s important that the rest of us know.

“The Electoral College is a very carefully considered structure the Framers of the Constitution set up to balance the competing interests of large and small states,” writes Hans von Spakovsky, a former member of the Federal Election Commission. “It prevents candidates from wining an election by focusing only on high-population urban centers (the big cities), ignoring smaller states and the more rural areas of the country — the places that progressives and media elites consider flyover country.”

Most people who watch the election returns know that a candidate must secure 270 electoral votes to win. That’s because there are 538 votes altogether. As the website for the National Archives notes, “Your state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for your Senators.”

In short, the Founders were looking out for the people in “flyover country” long before there were airplanes to fly over them.

Were it not for the Electoral College, presidential candidates could act as if many Americans don’t even exist. They could simply campaign in a small handful of states with big populations. Who would care what the people in Iowa think? Or Wyoming? Or any number of other states with smaller populations?

The people in “flyover country” don’t get enough attention as it is, but without the Electoral College, they’d be completely at the mercy of the majority.

And let’s face it — that’s often not a great place to be. As the Austrian political philosopher Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn dryly observed in his book “Leftism,” the crucifixion of Jesus was “a democratic event.”

What the wolves want matters, but so does what the sheep wants. The Electoral College ensures that no one winds up on the menu.

This piece originally appeared in The Washington Times

President Trump Suspends United Nations Treaty Of Open Skies Which Allowed Russia To Conduct Aerial Surveillance Of United States.

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Russian reconnaissance aircraft will fly over parts of the United States this week through Saturday as part of obligations for the Treaty on Open Skies, U.S. officials said. (REUTERS/Dmitry Petrochenko)

Open Skies Treaty

Fact Sheet:

BUREAU OF VERIFICATION, COMPLIANCE, AND IMPLEMENTATION

May 18, 2009
2009-2017.state.gov
U.S. Department Of State


Origin and Purpose

The Treaty on Open Skies entered into force on January 1, 2002, and currently has 34 States Parties. The Treaty establishes a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the entire territory of its participants. The Treaty is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants, regardless of size, a direct role in gathering information about military forces and activities of concern to them. Open Skies is one of the most wide-ranging international efforts to date to promote openness and transparency of military forces and activities.

The original concept of mutual aerial observation was proposed by President Eisenhower in 1955; the Treaty itself was an initiative of then-President George H.W. Bush in 1989. The Treaty was negotiated by the then-members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, and was signed in Helsinki, Finland, on March 24, 1992. Provisional application of portions of the Treaty took place from signature in 1992 until entry into force in 2002. During that period, participants conducted joint trial flights for the purpose of training mission crews and testing equipment and sensors. With entry into force of the Treaty, formal observation flights began in August 2002. States Parties have conducted over 530 observation flights over each other’s territory.

Since the signature of the Open Skies Treaty in 1992, the security environment in Europe has changed significantly. The Open Skies Treaty continues to contribute toward European security by enhancing openness and transparency among the Parties.

Membership 

The 34 States Parties to the Open Skies Treaty are: Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine, and United States. Kyrgyzstan has signed but not yet ratified. The Treaty depositaries are Canada and Hungary.

The Treaty is of unlimited duration and open to accession by other States. States of the former Soviet Union which have not already become States Parties to the Treaty may accede to it at any time. Applications from other interested States are subject to a consensus decision by the Open Skies Consultative Commission (OSCC), the Vienna-based organization charged with facilitating implementation of the Treaty, to which all States Parties belong. Eight states have acceded to the Treaty since entry into force: Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia, and Lithuania. One application for accession is pending before the OSCC.

Basic Elements of the Treaty

Territory. The Open Skies regime covers the territory over which the State Party exercises sovereignty, including – land, islands, and internal and territorial waters. The Treaty specifies that the entire territory of a State Party is open to observation. Observation flights may only be restricted for reasons of flight safety; not for reasons of national security.

Aircraft. Observation aircraft may be provided by either the observing Party or by the observed Party (the “taxi option”), at the latter’s choice. All Open Skies aircraft and sensors must pass specific certification and pre-flight inspection procedures to ensure that they are compliant with Treaty standards. Certified Open Skies aircraft include:
Bulgaria An-30
Hungary An-26
POD Group C-130H & J (Benelux, Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain)
Romania An-30
Russian Federation An-30 and TU-154
Sweden Saab-340B
Turkey Casa CN-235
Ukraine An-30B
United States OC-135B

Sensors. Open Skies aircraft may have video, optical panoramic and framing cameras for daylight photography, infra-red line scanners for a day/night capability, and synthetic aperture radar for a day/night all weather capability. Photographic image quality will permit recognition of major military equipment (e.g., permit a State Party to distinguish between a tank and a truck), thus allowing significant transparency of military forces and activities. Sensor categories may be added and capabilities improved by agreement among States Parties. All equipment used in Open Skies must be commercially available to all participants in the regime.

Quotas. Each State Party is obligated to receive observation flights per its passive quota allocation. Each State Party may conduct as many observation flights – its active quota – as its passive quota. The Russian Federation and the United States each have an annual passive quota of 42, and other States Parties have a quota of 12 or fewer. The Parties negotiate the annual distribution of the active quotas each October for the following calendar year. Over 100 observation flights are conducted each year.

Data Sharing/Availability. Imagery collected from Open Skies missions is available to any State Party upon request for the cost of reproduction. As a result, the data available to each State Party is much greater than that which it can collect itself under the Treaty quota system.

Implementation of the Treaty

In July 2008, under U.S. OSCC Chairmanship, States Parties commemorated the conduct of 500 observation flights since the Treaty entered into force.

The OSCC continues to address modalities for conducting observation missions and other implementation issues. The OSCC meets in three sessions per year, with monthly plenary meetings. The OSCC has several informal working groups that take up technical issues related to sensors, notification formats, aircraft certification and rules and procedures. The OSCC main functions are to:
consider questions relating to compliance with the Treaty;
seek to resolve ambiguities and differences of interpretation emerging during Treaty implementation;
consider and decide on applications for accession to the Treaty; and
review the distribution of active quotas annually.

The OSCC was established by Article X and Annex L of the Treaty, and has been in session since Treaty signature in March 1992. The OSCC takes decisions by consensus, and has adopted over 90 Decisions since its inception. OSCC Decisions enter into force with the Treaty and have the same duration as the Treaty.

State Department point of contact is Diana Marvin, 202-647-5357.

Note: This Treaty is not related to civil-aviation open skies agreements.

Why Russia Was Allowed to Fly a Surveillance Plane Over the Capitol and Pentagon.
Source: time.com

BY ARIC JENKINS 
AUGUST 11, 2017

With heightening concerns over conflict with North Korea and lingering allegations of Russian influence in the U.S. presidential election, you might think that the last thing Russia would do right now is fly a surveillance plane over Washington, D.C. But that’s exactly what it did Wednesday — and with clearance from the U.S. government.

The low-altitude aircraft flew over the Capitol building and the Pentagon with U.S. approval thanks to a long-standing global agreement called the Treaty on Open Skies, according to the Associated Press. The pact, which was signed and ratified by 34 nations including the U.S. and Russia in 1992, allows member countries to send unarmed observation flights over the territories of fellow members. It’s designed to promote transparency about military activity and hold participants accountable for diplomatic agreements.

But how did such a treaty come to exist in the first place?

Open Skies dates back to the beginnings of the Cold War, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed the initiative between the U.S. and Soviet Union at the Geneva Conference in 1955.

The idea was similar: exchange maps revealing the location of every military installation in the respective countries, in turn allowing them to conduct aerial surveillance on each other in order to guarantee the fulfillment of established arms agreements. But while France and Britain (the other attendees of the summit as part of the “Big Four” nations) were open to the deal, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev rejected the treaty, labeling it as an “espionage plot.” The proposal sat dormant for years. All the while, tension between the U.S. and Soviet Union further escalated.

It wasn’t until 1989 that the concept of Open Skies was reintroduced by President George H.W. Bush as a means to build trust between North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Warsaw Pact countries. The latter alliance — formed in 1955 between the Soviet Union and its eastern European satellites — ended up collapsing as the socialist state dissolved by 1991. Despite this period of geopolitical change, Bush was able to successfully negotiate the terms of the Open Skies treaty with the majority of the Warsaw Pact countries. On March 24, 1992, the treaty was signed in Helsinki, Finland.

Open Skies officially went into effect on Jan. 1, 2002. Since then, there have been more than 1,200 surveillance flights conducted by the member nations. But given recent foreign relations between the U.S. and Russia, among other countries, will the Open Skies treaty continue in this current political comment?

“The Obama administration carefully assessed the risks and benefits of remaining in the treaty and judged with our European allies that it was in our best interests to stay,” said Lynn Rusten, a senior consultant at the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

She added that the primary concern of Open Skies was the advancement of surveillance technology from film to digital cameras that are able to produce clearer images. But she said the U.S. permitted the upgrades because it felt it was worth the risk.

“It’s critical to maintain any mechanism to retain that confidence,” Rusten said. “It would do more harm than good to walk away from this treaty.”

But Stephen Sestanovich, a professor of international diplomacy at Columbia University and fellow on the Council on Foreign Relations, cast doubt over the treaty’s future.

“The Russians have been so ready to roll back or disregard norms and treaties that they’ve got people in Congress, in the military, in the intelligence world asking, ‘Why pretend to trust each other?’” he said. “In that atmosphere, virtually any agreement can be challenged.

Russian FURY After Donald Trump Ends US Surveillance Treaty Sparking ‘ARMS RACE’ Fears.

PRESIDENT Trump has blocked funding for an international surveillance treaty designed to allow countries to monitor each other’s military strength, infuriating Russia and raising fears of a new arms race.

By JAMES BICKERTON

PUBLISHED: 02:40, Wed, Aug 15, 2018 | UPDATED: 10:40, Wed, Aug 15, 2018

express.co.uk

The measure was included in a $717 billion defence policy bill which Trump signed on Monday.

It ended US funding for the Treaty of Open Skies, an agreement between 34 states which will allow them to fly unarmed observation aircraft over each others territories.

The intention of the programme, which the UK has signed up to, is to allow countries to monitor each others militaries to deter secret buildups.

Senior Russian figures responded furiously to Trump’s decision.

Vladimir Dzhabarov, deputy chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Moscow Times: “This is an attempt to hide everything the Americans will be preparing in the course of a new arms race.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov told a state news agency his government regrets the US decision.

The US had already accused Russia of violating the treaty by limiting surveillance flights over Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave situated between Poland and Lithuania.

There have been numerous reports of a Russian military buildup in Kaliningrad, with some satellite images suggesting the development of nuclear facilities.

Surveillance fights by unarmed aircraft are currently routine between the US, Russia and other signatories of the treaty.

The Pentagon estimates the Russians have carried out over 165 missions over the US since the agreement came into effect.

A Pentagon source told Politico: “We put together the flight plan and with a few exceptions…they are allowed to fly over pretty much the entire territory.”

In August 2017 there was controversy over a Russian reconnaissance flight which travelled over Washington D.C. and a US airforce base in Ohio.

The US State Department had previously described Open Skies as: “designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants, regardless of size, a direct role in gathering information through aerial imaging on military forces.”

Tensions between Russia and the US increased last week after the Americans put new tariffs on Russia over its alleged involvement in poisoning Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, and his daughter in the UK earlier this year.

The new US sanctions restrain the export of so-called dual use technologies, which could have a military or civilian application.

Unless Russia takes certain actions, a second round of sanctions, tougher than the first, is expected to follow.

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