Inside the Capitol

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

World Heritage Site Conspiracy?

FRI, 8-31-07


SANTA FE – We've been talking about some of New Mexico's more fascinating conspiracy theories recently. It now appears as though Otero County might have one brewing. It won't rival the days of Oliver Lee but it's big enough to have some folks in a stew.        

It seems the officials at White Sands want to get their national monument put on the United Nations' list of World Heritage Sites, alongside Carlsbad Caverns, Chaco Canyon, Taos Pueblo and 851 other geographical or cultural marvels of the world.

It's an honor that requires a great amount of paperwork and drumming up a good deal of support. But the Otero County Commission isn't sure it wants to be on the list of supporters. Some commissioners have heard there might be a little more to being on the U.N. list than just an honor.

Everyone knows the United Nations is a pretty messed up organization. It never can seem to agree on much of anything. And when it does, it often doesn't seem to be in the best interests of the United States.

Some nations can't even agree to pay their dues. The United States has been one of those nations at times. Members of Congress just weren't sure it was worth all the dues we have to pay.

The United States pays a lot of dues because we're a rich nation and most nations aren't. They have a lot of debt. Some folks in Otero County have heard the United Nations secretly wants to take over all the World Heritage Sites and use them as collateral for the world debt.

Maybe they would even sell them to private developers. Or maybe they would take them over, keep the admission fees and hire their own people from countries around the world to replace the American staff.

How likely is that to happen? Not very. The United Nations is pretty good at making lists, but that's about as far as it goes. It is difficult to imagine that bunch of guys ever getting their act together sufficiently to take over 851 World Heritage Sites. If they took over even one, they'd surely run it into the ground immediately.

Or is there a secret cabal of the world's richest and most powerful people that is actually running the United Nations? If it is, the UN secretary general must not know about it because the United States managed to leverage its choice into the position last January against the wishes of a great many UN members.

Or maybe President George W. Bush is a member of that cabal that secretly controls the United Nations. After all, his father, President George H.W. Bush, talked about the New World Order 20 years ago when he first ran for president.

Most of us were never quite sure what that meant, but George H.W. was a United Nations ambassador at one time. And he does have those two middle initials, which may be a giveaway.

Would that mean Gov. Bill Richardson is in on the conspiracy? He was a UN ambassador. Would he have been told? What about John Bolton, President George W's appointee? He was so outspoken and no-nonsense, he'd have been sure to find out and spill the beans.

All things considered, there just doesn't seem to be that much to worry about. Reports from other World Heritage Sites indicate that the only adverse impact is from too many tourists tromping around and degrading sites that are fragile.

I'm no expert, but it doesn't seem that White Sands is as fragile as most sites. Alamogordo might welcome more tourists, in fact. Competition, reportedly, is fierce worldwide to became a site because of the big tourist payoffs.

Tourist guidebooks now tout World Heritage sites. Companies schedule tours especially to hit as many sites as possible. As long as we keep an eye peeled for black helicopters, it appears to be a good deal.


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