“Cease and Desist” Order Issued to Stop Publicity About Giveaway of 8 Alaskan Islands and Vast Oil-Rich Seabeds to Russia
Free political speech has been imperiled by Alaska’s Attorney General who has issued a cease and desist order against publicity of the giveaway of 8 Alaskan islands and vast oil-rich seabeds. The nonpartisan foreign policy watchdog group State Department Watch has conducted the educational campaign for years with recognition by the Alaska Legislature and many nationwide groups.
Attorney General Gregg Renkes invoked a prior restraint order, demanding to have documentation of the giveaway prior to any discussion of it in mailings in Alaska. At stake are the Alaskan islands of Wrangell, Herald, Bennett, Jeannette, and Henrietta in the Arctic Ocean and Copper Island, Sea Lion Rock, and Sea Otter Rock at the western end of the Aleutian chain.
“We see this suppression of free speech as a political move by Governor Frank Murkowski who appointed the Attorney General,” charged Carl Olson, chairman of State Department Watch, headquartered in Washington, D. C. “Murkowski favored the giveaway while he served in the U. S. Senate and now apparently doesn’t want any publicity in Alaska for his failure as governor to fight the giveaway.”
By nearly unanimous votes the Alaska Legislature has passed a series of resolutions since 1986 denouncing the giveaway. Under the U.S.-Russia Maritime Boundary Agreement, the U. S.State Department established a boundary line in the Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea which places the8 Alaskan islands on the Russian side. Along with the islands go tens of thousands of square miles of exclusive economic zones with their billions of barrels of oil and millions of pounds of fish.
Under the sponsorship of Representative John Coghill Jr. (R-Fairbanks) the Alaska
Legislature passed House Joint Resolution 27 with nearly total bi-partisan support in both houses. It complained that the State Department negotiated its agreement with the Soviet Union in total secrecy. No representative of Alaska was allowed in the negotiations, and no public input was sought in this historic concession to the Russians. No quid-pro-quo has been identified. The consent of the State of Alaska was not sought for this giveaway of Alaskan territory and property to a foreign government. State Department Watch’s chairman Olson and Vice Chairman Mark Seidenberg testified to the legislature on this issue.
The legislature also asked the Governor, Attorney General, the Congressman, and two U. S. Senators to intercede to stop the giveaway. However, for years U. S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Ted Stevens and Congressman Don Young have strongly backed the giveaway.
In the current election for Senate, both candidates Lisa Murkowski and Tony Knowles have done a flip-flop. When she was in the state legislature, Ms. Murkowski voted in favor of it, but in Washington has done nothing to stop the giveaway. When he was governor in 1999, Mr. Knowles signed HJR 27, but did nothing to stop the giveaway.