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Current Assessment/State of the Field:




Karageorgis, Konstantinos, “Interdict WMD Smugglers at Sea”, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, March 2005, Vol. 131, Issue 3.

  1. “The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) countries should inspire and lead the rest of the world in taking bold measures against smuggling.”
  2. “Greece, the country with the largest merchant fleet in the world, is not a PSI member.”
  3. “In an effort to persuade Greece to become a member of the PSI, the United States could support Greece’s efforts to exercise its legal right (according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and expand its territorial waters from 6 to 12 nautical miles.”
  4. “In the sensitive area of the Eastern Mediterranean, the 12-mile territorial sea, if adopted by every country, will expand the territory where the PSI countries will have the legal right to seize suspected vessels and interdict weapons smugglers.”

PSI, Jurisdiction


Cotton, James, “The Proliferation Security Initiative and North Korea: Legality and Limitations of a Coalition Strategy”, Security Dialogue, Vol. 36 Issue 2, pg. 193-211, June 2005.

  1. “Under current norms, the export of missiles by non-MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) countries to non-MTCR recipients does not violate any international agreements or obligations.” Pg. 197
  2. “The PSI lacks sufficient basis in international law to legitimize the interdiction of alleged North Korean WMD and weapons shipments on likely shipping routes.”  Pg. 208
  3. “The vessels in question will most likely be North Korean flagged and will avoid state jurisdictions where these activities may be subject to challenge.” Pg. 197
  4. “If the USA comes to determine that the threat posed by North Korean proliferation is now so great that it cannot await changes to international law or specific UN endorsement, Washington may well seek the backing of a like-minded coalition for more stringent action.” Pg. 204
  5. “It is not yet possible to reconcile the ambitious intentions of the PSI with current international law and practice. Further cooperation with key states will be necessary, and a specific UN Security Council endorsement will be required.” Pg. 201
  6. “If it is supposed that the PSI is especially applicable to North Korea, then any program to restrict the movement of goods in and out of North Korea would require the active cooperation of China and South Korea, given the extensive use of Chinese ports and railways by North Korean commercial entities, and also the extensive and poorly regulated inter-Korean trade.” Pg. 196
  7. “The formation of a truly effective PSI coalition would require the full participation of South Korea. This is the case not only for reasons of geography and because US air and naval units would most likely need to operate from or use bases in South Korean territory, but also because since 2000 South Korea has emerged as North Korea’s most important trading partner and because there have even been some tentative agreements between Seoul and Pyongyang to permit shipping from the North to use South Korean territorial waters.” Pg. 206-207
  8. “Only with regime change in Pyongyang will the danger North Korea poses both to the USA and to world order be removed. This is held to be the case since ‘rogue’ regimes do not necessarily operate according to the conventional canons of deterrence, nor can they be trusted not to pass WMDs to terrorists.” Pg. 205

PSI, Jurisdiction, WMD, North Korea, South Korea, China


Perman, Ben, “Provide the Capability for Interdiction Operations”, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Jan2006, Vol. 132 Issue 1.

  1. “Despite the catastrophic consequences of WMD and the asymmetric nature of their threat, maritime powers such as the United States have a unique opportunity to gain the upper hand, because all WMDs will probably be on board a commercial vessel at some point during the proliferation cycle.”
  2. “International law and the economic forces that drive international shipping (and, by extension, smuggling) lead to the conclusion that the most effective locations to focus interdiction operations are areas where all elements of jurisdiction intersect.”
  3. “High seas interdiction operations, however, are tactically complex, demand excellent intelligence, require large commitments of resources, and may lack sufficient authority and jurisdiction to withstand legal review.”
  4. “One possible limitation is that, without detailed intelligence, the boarding team is not aware of any one item, or situation, that indicates the presence of weapons of mass destruction.”
  5. “Equipping all boarding teams with a common detection and analysis suite will overcome this limitation and provide an additional arena for overt intelligence collection.”
  6. “Boarding teams should be equipped with modern, accurate spectrometers that can discriminate between most radionuclides and can provide the on-scene commander with the data required to make informed decisions.”
  7. “If the threat of WMD entering the United States is from maritime shipments, it is clear that some effort must be made to provide boarding teams with simple detection kits.”

PSI, WMD, Jurisdiction, Biodetection


Associated Press, “The Hague: Court’s First Trial,” NYT, A 26, Nov. 19, 2008.

  1. “The International Criminal Court cleared the way on Tuesday to begin its first trial on Tuesday to begin its first trial in January.”
  2. “The court in The Hague lifted its suspension of the case against Mr. Lubanga after the prosecution submitted to demands to hand over confidential evidence it had received from the United Nations.”
  3. “Mr. Lubanga is the first defendant brought before the court since it was created in 2002 as the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal.”

Jurisdiction, Classified


Moore, John, “UNCLOS Key to Increasing Navigational Freedom”, Texas Review of Law & Politics, Spring 2008, Vol. 12, Issue 2 PG. 459-467.

  1. “Nonadherence has reduced the voice of the United States of America, a terribly important voice in the world, and continued nonadherence will further reduce that voice on issues that are critical for us.” (pg. 462)
  2. “The issue is the entire Convention and our effort to protect the navigational freedom that we have been struggling for, over the past hundred years, and will continue to struggle for, in the next fifty years.” (pg. 464)
  3. “At stake in that debate was whether the United States was going to insist on all of our navigational rights, transit passage through, over, and under straits used for international navigation, or whether we would accept the advice of some that this was simply a nonnegotiable issue, and we should damp it down.” (pg.459)
  4. “The United States prevailed on all of the security provisions of the Convention— security provisions which were very much at stake in the negotiations.” (pg.460)
  5. “We fully preserved navigational freedom, including transit passage through, over, and under international straits.” (pg.460)
  6. “We extended United States’ resource jurisdiction into the oceans in an area larger than the entire land mass of the United States, and we insisted on assured access to seabed minerals for United States’ firms.” (pg.460)
  7. “This treaty was a great victory for the United States Navy and for navigational freedom and our security interests on the world’s oceans.” (pg. 461)
  8. “The United States was overwhelmingly the leader in this negotiation.” (pg. 460)
  9. “The Law of the Sea Convention and its negotiation remains one of the seminal negotiating successes of the United States throughout its history.” (pg. 460)

PSI, U.S. Foreign Policy, Jurisdiction


Johnston, David, “2 in Chicago Held in Plot To Attack In Denmark,” NYT A17, Oct. 28, 2009.

  1. “The most serious charges, conspiracy to murder and maim in a foreign country, were filed against David Coleman Headley, who was born in the United States, lived in Pakistan and now resides in Chicago.”
  2. “Mr. Rana is a businessman who was born in Pakistan and is now a Canadian citizen living legally in Chicago [is charged with providing material support.”
  3. “Davis S. Kris …said the case was a reminder of the threat posed by international terrorism organizations.”

Jurisdiction, Law Enforcement, Homeland Security


Associated Press, “Iran Prosecutor Accuses American Hikers of Spying,” USA Today, 8A, Nov. 10, 2009.

  1. “Commenting on the case, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the United States of jailing innocent Iranians and pointed to two of his countrymen — a nuclear scientist and a top defense official — who disappeared in recent years.  Iran accuses the United States of kidnapping them.”
  2. ‘There are some Iranains who have spent many years in prison without doing anything wrong, in American prisions.’”

Jurisdiction, Iran


Associated Press, “United Arab Emirates: Court Convicts American,” NYT A11, Nov. 11, 2009.

  1. “The [U.A.E.] Supreme Court convicted an American citizen on Monday of terrorism-related charges after claims that torture had been used to extract a confession.”
  2. “Hearings in the case were closed to the public and the chief justice, Khalifaa al-Muhairi, gave no details on his decision.”
  3. “Mr. hamdan has denied the allegations and says he was tortured and forced to sign a confession.”
  4. “The American Civil Liberties Union, have accused United States authorities of pushing the case in the Emirates because they lacked enough evidence for American courts.”

Jurisdiction, United Arab Emirates


Schwirtz, Michael, Cowell, Alan, “Suspect in Russian’s Poisoning Isn’t Charged,” NYT, A6, Nov. 13, 2009.

  1. “German prosecutors have abandonded investigations into one of the main figures suspected of involvement in the killing of former K.G.B. officer in London 3 years ago without bringing charges.”
  2. “Dmitiri V. Kovtun, … was initially suspected by German prosecutors of illegally transportting a rare radioactive isotope, Polnium 210, through Germany and then to London, where investigators say it was used to poison Alexander V. Litvinenko, a former K.G.B. officer and whistleblower.”
  3. “The Litvinenko case deeply strained relations between Britain and Russia.”

Jurisdiction, Russia, U.K., Germany


Schwartz, John, “Two German Killers Demanding Anonymity Sue Wikipedia’s Parent,NYT, A 13, Nov. 13, 2009.

  1. “Wolfgang Werle and Manfred Lauber became infamous for killing a German actor in 1990.  Now they are suing to force Wikipedia to forget them.”
  2. “The legal fight pits German privacy law against the American First Amendment.”
  3. “But Germany’s courts have come up with a different balance between the right to privacy and the public’s right to know, Mr. Abrams said.”
  4. “Publications generally comply with the law, Mr. Hoppner said.”
  5. “he [Hoppner] said, but the logic may not be workable in the Internet age, when archival material that was legally published at the time can be called up with a simple Google search.”

Information Policy, Jurisdiction, Germany


Ruiz, Rebecca, “More Foreign Students Applying to Graduate Schools,” NYT, A15, April 6, 2010.

  1. “International applications to graduate programs in the United States increased by 7 percent this year, according to a report to be released Tuesday by the Council of Graduate Schools.”
  2. “Applications from China, India, the Middle East and Turkey grew by doubledigit figures over the last year.”

Open Science, Jurisdiction, Lab Security, China, India, Middle East, South Korea, Turkey


Weiser, Benjamin, “Ex-Brooklyn College Student Admits Conspiring to Help Al Qaeda,” NYT, April 27, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/28/nyregion/28hashmi.html

  1. ”In a widely watched terrorism case, a former Brooklyn College student admitted in court on Tuesday that he had conspired to provide Al Qaeda with what prosecutors described as military gear.”
  2. ”The former student, Syed Hashmi, 30, was to go on trial on Wednesday in Federal District Court in Manhattan, three years after he was extradited from Britain and accused by prosecutors of conspiring with others to provide Al Qaeda with military gear that was to be used against American forces in Afghanistan.”
  3. ”As part of his deal, the government will drop three other charges and allow him to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to Al Qaeda, prosecutors said.”
  4. ” Mr. Hashmi, a Pakistani who became an American citizen, has been in custody for four years, and with possible sentence reductions for good behavior, could be released by the age of 40, Mr. Ruhnke said.”
  5. ”He acknowledged, under questioning by Mr. Ruhnke, that in 2004, while he was a graduate student in London, he knew that a man staying with him was planning to deliver outdoor gear like ponchos, sleeping bags and waterproof socks to Al Qaeda for use in Afghanistan.”
  6. ”Mr. Ruhnke asked whether Mr. Hashmi knew that the United States considered Al Qaeda a terrorist organization.”
  7. ”He also acknowledged lending the man $300 to buy a plane ticket to carry the gear to South Waziristan, an area of western Pakistan, for use by Al Qaeda.”

Extradition, Jurisdiction, Material Supportal-Qaeda
Saltmarsh, Matthew, “Imminent End of Secrecy to Shake Up Swiss Banking,” NYT, B7, May 14, 2010.

  1. “The switch was not Switzerland’s idea.  It’s neighbors, painfully aware of the tax receipts they were  losing, have been increasing the pressure for years.  But it was not until the UNited States government threatened UBS, the biggest Swiss ban, with criminal prosecution slightly more than a year ago that teh wall really began to tumble.”
  2. “The largest group in Parliment, the nationalist Swiss People’s arty, plans to vote against the UBS bill, which it views as an infringement of national sovereignty.”
  3. “This has removed the country from a so-called gray list at the O.E.C.D.”

Jurisdiction, Switzerland


Muzinich, Justin, “The Nuke in the Cargo HoldPolicy Review, August & September 2010, Issue 162, pages 83-92.

  1. “The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is the primary treaty governing the oceans. It gives every state control of the seas extending twelve miles from its coast, and the water beyond this is considered the ‘high seas,’ or international waters.” (pg. 84)
  2. “The treaty establishes what is known as flag-state sovereignty. This means that only a state whose flag on a ship is flying can interdict that ship in international water.” (pg. 84)
  3. “Historical context reveals that commerce has been a key reason for flag-state sovereignty’s emergence; it is therefore important to consider whether commerce will be damaged by nonproliferation goals.” (pg. 87)
  4. “Neither the PSI nor the ship-boarding agreements that have followed it allow any action that violates UNCLOS’s dictate of flag-state sovereignty.” (pg. 85)
  5. “A nonconsensual interdiction on the high seas would be a direct affront to a specific country. Wars have been fought over similar acts. The risk of escalation on an individual interdiction into war is a serious one, and must be factored heavily into the calculus of decision-makers.” (pg. 89-90)
  6. “The law of the sea treats a ship on the high seas as if it were part of a state’s physical territory, a sort of floating embassy.” (pg. 84)
  7. “Those who sign UN resolutions, join PSI, and consent to inspection of their ships are those already committed to nonproliferation. But it is the countries that remain outside these agreements that are the most likely proliferators.” (pg. 86)
  8. “International law does not match international rhetoric, doing little to restrain the countries that matter most.” (pg. 86)

PSI, Jurisdiction


Editors, “Gaza Blockade: Iran Offers Escort to Next Aid Convoy” 6 June 2010, Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/06/gaza-blockade-iran-aid-convoy Last Checked 26 October 2010.

  1. “Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, dismissed a UN proposal for an international commission to investigate last week’s commando assault on aid ships, in which nine people died.”
  2. “Another aid ship, the Rachel Corrie, carrying Irish and other peace activists, was boarded peacefully by Israeli forces on Saturday, escorted to the port of Ashdod, and its passengers deported.”
  3. “Israel’s no-compromise attitude to aid convoys could be tested again after two Lebanese organizations pledged to send boats to Gaza in the next few days.”
  4. “George Galloway, the founder of Viva Palestina, announced in London that two simultaneous convoys ‘one by land via Egypt and the other by sea’ would set out in September to break the Gaza blockade.”
  5. “The sea convoy of up to 60 ships will travel around the Mediterranean gathering ships, cargo and volunteers.”
  6. “Iran has warned that it could send Revolutionary Guard naval units to escort humanitarian aid convoys seeking to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza– a move that would certainly be challenged by Israel.”
  7. “‘Iran’s Revolutionary Guard naval forces are prepared to escort the peace and freedom convoys that carry humanitarian assistance for the defenseless and oppressed people of Gaza with all their strength,’  pledged Hojjatoleslam Ali Shirazi.”
  8. “Netanyahu has defended Israel’s right to maintain the blockade by arguing that without it Gaza would become an “Iranian port” and Hamas missiles would strike Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.”

Israel, Iran, Jurisdiction, PSI
Sang-Hun, Choe, “North Korea Seizes South Korean Boat Near Border” 8 August 2010, New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/09/world/asia/09boat.html?_r=1 Last Checked 28 October 2010.

  1. “North Korea seized a South Korean squidding boat in waters near their eastern sea border.”
  2. “The South Korean squid ship left Pohang, a port on the east coast of South Korea, on Aug. 1 and was scheduled to return to port on Sept. 10. It made its last daily radio report to the South Korean Coast Guard on Saturday evening.”
  3. “The 41-ton boat was believed to have been detained after entering the North’s exclusive economic zone, where foreign fishing boats are banned.”
  4. “The boat was being towed to Songjin, a port on the eastern coast of North Korea, for interrogation of the crew. Then the communication was cut off, coast guard officials said.”
  5. “Fishing boats from either side have occasionally drifted into the other’s waters, often after engine trouble. How fast they were released often depended on the tenor of bilateral relations at the time.”

PSI, Jurisdiction, South Korea, North Korea


Reuters, “Iran and Nigeria Discuss Seized Weapons” 11 November 2010, New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/12/world/africa/12nigeria.html?_r=3&ref=todayspaper Last Checked 13 November 2010.

  1. “Iran’s foreign minister flew to Nigeria on Thursday to discuss an arms shipment that was seized by Nigerian officials last month and that diplomats have said could put Iran in breach of United Nations sanctions.”
  2. “Nigeria’s secret service intercepted the shipment two weeks ago and found that it contained rockets and other explosives.”
  3. “The weapons were in containers that were labeled as construction materials and had been loaded in Iran by a local trader who did not appear on any sanctions list, a shipping group based in France.”
  4. “Security experts said the heavy rockets could have been intended for the Taliban  in Afghanistan and Hamas  in the Gaza Strip.”
  5. “The weapons may have been destined for Hamas and that the Iranians may have been testing a new smuggling route.”
  6. “Nigeria’s secret service said Wednesday that it had been monitoring the movement of the cargo before it entered Lagos in July and that there was no question that Nigeria had been the intended destination.”
  7. “Iran would appear to be in breach of the sanctions approved by the United Nations Security Council, which forbids Iran from exporting any weapons directly or indirectly that were originally loaded on its territory.”
  8. “But the diplomats said it was difficult to assess the specifics about the shipment seized in Nigeria, because that country had not yet notified the Security Council’s Iran sanctions committee about the seizure.”

PSI, Jurisdiction, Law Enforcement


Lavie, Mark, “Israel: Iranian Naval Vessels are Provocation” 22 February 2011, Associated Press http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110223/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_egypt_iran_warships Last Checked 22 February 2011.

  1. “Two Iranian warships sailed from the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean.”
  2. “The ships paid about $300,000 in fees for the canal passage.”
  3. “The Iranian ships are headed for a training mission in Syria, an arch foe of Israel.”
  4. “Despite the strong language, Israel was seen as unlikely to take action against the vessels.”
  5. “The vessels headed toward Syria, but were expected to remain in international waters as they passed the Israeli coast.”
  6. “Israeli security officials said that as long as the ships remain in international waters, there is nothing Israel can legally do.”
  7. “Egypt is the gatekeeper of the strategic canal which links the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.”
  8. “Egypt’s new military rulers, who took power from ousted President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11, appeared to have no choice but to allow the passage.”
  9. “An international convention regulating shipping says the canal must be open ‘to every vessel of commerce or of war.’”
  10. “Iranian warships have not passed through the Suez Canal since 1979.”
  11. “In sending warships to the Mediterranean now, Iran was asserting itself as a regional power and testing whether Egypt’s new rulers will stick to the pro-Western line of the Mubarak government.”
  12. “The voyage also signals that Iran is ready to come to the aid of regional allies, including Syria and Iranian proxies Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.”

PSI, Jurisdiction, Iran, Israel
Editors, “Seized Sensitive Cargo Was Bound For Iran, Malaysia Says” 18 March 2011, Global Security Newswire http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20110318_9470.php Last Checked 22 March 2011.

  1. “Malaysia on Friday revealed that two seized cargo containers filled with technology that could have been employed to build nuclear weapons were bound for Iran.”
  2. “Under a 2010 law that prohibits the illicit import or export of WMD-related materials, local police moved two weeks ago to confiscate the two containers from a Malaysian-registered ship docked at Port Klang.”
  3. “The seized components were a stainless steel holding tank and two agitating mixer devices.”
  4. “Investigators determined the equipment fell under the list of controlled goods that require special government dispensation for shipment abroad.”
  5. “National police chief Ismail Omar said the vessel was sailing from China to Tehran.”
  6. “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday the international community needs to make sure Iran understands it would be subject to ‘credible military action’ should sanctions fail in stopping Tehran’s contested atomic activities.”

PSI, Jurisdiction


Gertz, Bill, “Inside the Ring: Sea Law Treaty Push,” 27 July 2011, Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jul/27/inside-the-ring-319113972/print/ Last Checked 27 July 2011.

  1. “The Obama administration and Sen. John F. Kerry are pushing for Senate ratification of the controversial Law of the Sea Treaty amid heightened tensions over Chinese maritime aggressiveness stemming from the 1982 pact.”
  2. “The treaty gives nations a 200-mile Economic Exclusion Zone.”
  3. “China has used that provision to claim wide areas of international waters as its own, prompting recent clashes in the South China, East China and Yellow seas as well as verbal sparring with the Pentagon over freedom of navigation.”
  4. “The treaty push is part of the administration’s policy of using international agreements as a centerpiece of national security policies.”
  5. “Critics say those policies usually involve signing agreements that constrain the United States, while allowing foreign signatories to violate or circumvent the accords.”
  6. “A main objection of critics of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, its formal name, is that the agreement undermines U.S. sovereignty.”
  7. “Non-navigation provisions would give the United Nations some power to control access to undersea resources and also to intervene in U.S. domestic affairs.”
  8. “Heritage Foundation analyst Steven Groves said a major problem with the treaty is Article 82. The section would force the U.S. government to lose millions by forfeiting royalties from U.S. companies to explore for oil and gas on the continental shelf beyond 200 miles. Instead, a U.N. organization would get a portion of the money.”
  9. “‘It’s the non-navigational provisions — sharing oil and gas royalties with underdeveloped countries, mandatory dispute resolution and the deep seabed mining provisions — that give conservatives heartburn,’ he said.”
  10. “Navy Capt. John Kirby said Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, supports the treaty because ‘he believes that by remaining outside the convention, we give up the firmer foundation of treaty law for navigational rights vital to our global mobility.’”
  11. “The White House is using the Navy’s support for the treaty’s navigation provisions to gain the backing of skeptical senators.”

PSI, Jurisdiction, U.S. Foreign Policy, Military