‘A Corporate Trojan Horse': Obama Pushes Secretive TPP Trade Pact, Would Rewrite Swath of U.S. Laws…


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From DEMOCRACY NOW
Thanks to Rosalind Peterson

As the federal government shutdown continues, Secretary of State John Kerry heads to Asia for secret talks on a sweeping new trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP is often referred to by critics as “NAFTA on steroids,” and would establish a free trade zone that would stretch from Vietnam to Chile, encompassing 800 million people — about a third of world trade and nearly 40 percent of the global economy. While the text of the treaty has been largely negotiated behind closed doors and, until June, kept secret from Congress, more than 600 corporate advisers reportedly have access to the measure, including employees of Halliburton and Monsanto. “This is not mainly about trade,” says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “It is a corporate Trojan horse. The agreement has 29 chapters, and only five of them have to do with trade. The other 24 chapters either handcuff our domestic governments, limiting food safety, environmental standards, financial regulation, energy and climate policy, or establishing new powers for corporations.”

TRANSCRIPT

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: President Obama announced this week that the U.S. government shutdown would delay his upcoming four-country trip to Asia, but that negotiations on a controversial new trade agreement he hopes to sign by the end of the year will continue to move forward. Obama called the Philippines president Tuesday night to say he would miss his visit, and a spokesperson shared the news with reporters Thursday.

RICKY CARANDANG: Secretary Kerry … he will go in place of President Obama. President Obama personally called President Aquino to tell him—to explain to him why he could not make the visit.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: John Kerry will attend Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings next week in Indonesia, where he’ll push for the completion of a sweeping new trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the largest international trade deal since the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1995. The administration hopes to pass the measure through Congress by the end of the year using its Fast Track authority to limit lawmakers to an up-or-down vote.

AMY GOODMAN: The TPP is often referred to by critics as “NAFTA on steroids” and would establishing a free trade zone that would stretch from Vietnam to Chile, encompass 800 million people—about a third of world trade and nearly 40 percent of the global economy. While the text of the treaty has been largely negotiated behind closed doors, more than 600 corporate advisers reportedly have access to the measure, including employees of Halliburton and Monsanto.

Well, for more, we’re joined by Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

Lori, welcome back to Democracy Now! Just explain what the TPP is.

LORI WALLACH: Well, one of the most important things to understand is it’s not really mainly about trade. I guess the way to think about it is as a corporate Trojan horse. The agreement has 29 chapters, and only five of them have to do with trade. The other 24 chapters either handcuff our domestic governments, limiting food safety, environmental standards, financial regulation, energy and climate policy, or establishing new powers for corporations.

For instance, there are the same investor privileges that promote job offshoring to lower-wage countries. There is a ban on Buy Local procurement, so that corporations have a right to do sourcing, basically taking our tax dollars, and instead of investing them in our local economy, sending them offshore. There are new rights to, for instance, have freedom to enter other countries and take natural resources, a right for mining, a right for oil, gas, without approval.

And then there’s a whole set of very worrisome issues relating to Internet freedom. Through sort of the backdoor of the copyright chapter of TPP is a whole chunk of SOPA, the Stop Online Privacy Act, that activism around the country successfully derailed a year ago. Think about all the things that would be really hard to get into effect as a corporation in public, a lot of them rejected here and in the other 11 countries, and that is what’s bundled in to the TPP. And every country would be required to change its laws domestically to meet these rules. The binding provision is, each country shall ensure the conformity of domestic laws, regulations and procedures.

Now, the only reason I know that level of detail is because a few texts have leaked, and I have been following the negotiations and grilling negotiators from other countries to try and find between the lines what the hell is going on; otherwise, totally secret.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Lori, about that secrecy, even members of Congress have been severely limited in what they can learn, and that’s only after the revelations about the total secrecy that this whole process began with. Could you talk about what members of Congress are allowed to know and how?

LORI WALLACH: Well, what’s really important for people to know—and this gets to what you started out with about Fast Track. Congress has exclusive constitutional authority over trade. It’s kind of like the Boston Tea Party hangover. After having a king just impose tariffs, in that case on tea, the founders said, “We need to put all things about trade, international commerce, in the hands of Congress, the most diffuse part of the elected representation, not the executive, the king.” So Congress has all this authority. They’re supposed to be exclusively in control. But until this June, they were not even allowed to see the draft text.

And it was only after a big, great fuss was kicked up by a lot of members—150 of them wrote last year—that finally members of Congress, upon request for the particular chapter, can have a government administration official bring them a chapter. Their staff is thrown out of the room. They can’t take detailed notes. They’re not supposed to talk about what they saw. And they can, without staff to help them figure out what the technical language is, look at a chapter. This is in contrast to, say, even what the Bush administration did. The last time we had one of these mega-NAFTA expansion attempts was the Free Trade Area of the Americas. And in that instance, in 2001, that whole draft text was released to the public by the U.S. government on the official government websites. So, this is extraordinary secrecy, and members of Congress aren’t supposed to tell anyone what they’ve read. So, for instance, you know, Alan Grayson, who was one of the guys who helped to get the text released, Alan Grayson said, “I can tell you it’s very bad for the future of America. I just can’t tell you why.” That’s obscene.

This would rewrite wide swaths of our laws. And again, it’s mainly not about trade. So, if we have this agreement in effect, for instance, it would be a big push for fracking. Now you would say, “Why fracking?” Because it doesn’t allow us to have bans on liquid natural gas exports. Or, if this were in effect, we couldn’t ensure the safety of the food we feed our families. We have to import, for instance, fish and shrimp that we know, from the limited inspection that’s done, is extremely dangerous from certain kinds of growing ponds that are contaminated, etc., in some of the TPP countries. Or, for instance, some of the financial reforms where the banksters were finally regulated would be rolled back. All of this, and it would be privately enforceable by certain foreign corporations.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you about a bill that didn’t make it through Congress, but the question is, is it incorporated into TPP? And that’s SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act. First explain what it is, and talk about where it fits in here.

LORI WALLACH: So, the Stop Online Piracy Act was a vehicle basically to take away some of our rights on the Internet. It would have criminalized what they call inadvertent, small-scale, non-commercial copying. And the example would be, for instance, Juan, I had you over to dinner. You liked the recipe I had. I happened to have taken it for $2 I paid for it off of a paid website. And you said, “Lori, can you send me that recipe?” And, of course, I said, “Yeah,” and I sent it to you. That is officially a copyright violation. I should say, “You have to go pay $2 and get it yourself, Juan.” But, in fact, it’s small-scale. I didn’t sell it. It’s not commercial. I didn’t send it to a lot of people.

That kind of activity, under SOPA, as well as any number of things we do all the time—making a copy, or like a buffer copy that our computer would make to look at a video, or breaking a digital lock—for instance, if we bought software, but we wanted to run it on Linux—all of those things would be considered criminal activities. We’d face huge fines, and our carriers—Google, etc.—would have to take us off of service, to black us out. So, a huge limit on Internet freedom.

That whole mess was defeated in Congress in a wonderful citizen uprising. A chunk of that is now stuck in the copyright chapter of SOPA—of TPP. So, they call TPP “son of SOPA.” In a lot of countries around the TPP region, citizens have fought to have good laws that actually provide them access and don’t allow that kind of control. So, that is a chunk. To give you an idea of how varied the problems are, that’s a chunk of what is in there.

Now, the thing about that Fast Track you mentioned, Fast Track is not in effect. Fast Track is an extraordinary delegation of Congress’s authority. So if we don’t want unsafe food, offshore jobs, SOPA, SOPA, SOPA, limits on Internet freedom, the banksters gettings rolled back into deregulation, we have to make sure that Congress actually maintains its constitutional authority to make sure that before this agreement can be signed, it actually works for us. Fast Track is a delegation of authority. President Obama has asked for it, but it only happens if Congress gives it to him.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Lori, what’s been the Obama administration’s position on these negotiations in terms of tobacco? Could you talk about that specifically?

LORI WALLACH: Well, the whole approach of the Obama administration has really been, I don’t know, some combination of heartbreaking and infuriating, because when he was a candidate, President Obama promised he would replace the NAFTA model, and instead they’ve doubled down.

So the tobacco issue is one of those that’s the most gruesome. So, the TPPincludes the very controversial investor-state system, which empowers individual corporations to directly sue governments—not in our courts, but in extrajudicial tribunals where three corporate attorneys act as “judges,” and these guys rotate between being the judge and being the guys suing the government for the corporation. They’re empowered to give unlimited cash damages from us, the taxpayers, to these corporations for any government action—a regulatory issue, environment, health, safety—that undermines the investor’s expected future profits. Under that system, big tobacco companies have been attacking health regulations. And famously—infamously—these kinds of investor-state cases have extracted billions of dollars and undermined important laws. So, Philip Morris has used this to attack Australia, one of theTPP country’s plain-packaging-of-cigarette laws. So, a lot of the TPP countries are very worried that they would be basically handcuffed from being able to regulate for health around tobacco. So, the U.S. originally was going to offer an exception. Big tobacco came in and basically won the day. The U.S. pulled away what was a medium exception, put in something that’s really worse than nothing, and then Malaysia came in and actually offered a real exception, which the U.S. is opposing—just like the U.S. is opposing an exception to maintain financial regulations for prudential reasons, just like the U.S. is opposing a real exception to those investor tribunals with respect to health and the environment. It’s incredibly depressing.

The only good news is a bunch of the other countries have basically said, “Basta! We are not going to roll back these things.” So the reason there isn’t a deal is because a lot of the other countries are standing up to the worst of these U.S. corporate-inspired demands. You can see the whole lay of this at ExposeTheTPP, www.exposethetpp. There are fact sheets on each of the ways, each aspect of your life the TPP could affect. And if you want to get down into the weeds and have long papers explaining and/or information from other countries, you can go to tradewatch.org. That’s tradewatch.org. Between those two sets of information, you’ll see there’s almost no part of your life or the things you care about that this agreement couldn’t undermine. And again, trade is the least of it…
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5 Comments

Another one of Obama’s ‘Clinton Moments’. The guy is constantly throwing the ball to the wrong team. His style differs (slightly) only in that he apparently has better impulse control.

Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.
~~~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thanks Dave for bringing to the light this Draconian, to hell with the Republic, takeover of our nations sovereignty. Were over 14 secret TPP meetings have already occurred in complete and the information clearly details how our Congress, and especially our President, is selling out this country’s 245 years of Independence to the stated globalists agenda.

Sorry to say Izzy and all who still believe in a national first government, this isn’t another Clinton moment, it’s a massive global coup de ‘etat to usurp legal authority out of national legislative control to the give sole power to the globalists for their often stated New World Agenda. This critical documentary clearly details their not so hidden agenda for those that wish to see and understand what is truly going on behind the bread and circus. When put together one can see how long top officials in our government have been call ing for exactly what the TPP is planning and doing.

It also needs to be clearly understood that Amy Goodman and Democracy Now are mostly funded by the Ford Foundation, the Tide Foundation and George Soro’s Open Society, all globalists and members of CFR and Bilderberg groups.

DN will give you some of the alternative story but never, ever disclose the true agenda of the Committee of 300 and the Bildiberger’s nor will they confront the many, many inconsistencies and lies with the official 9/11 conspiracy theory and the Boston Bombings.

http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/printgroupProfile.asp?grpid=6891

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The TPP TakeU.S. Under

It might as well stand for “Take Power from the People,” a Detroit postal worker said.

The TPP goes in direct concert with the UN led Agenda 21 (agenda for the 21st century) and the council for Global Governance 2025 in their end game plans for the NWO….OMG!

“Reading between the lines is sometimes the only way to get an idea of the bigger picture… the hidden agenda, as it were. Such is the case with the 2010 document: “Global Governance 2025: At A Critical Juncture” . This curiosity is the brain child of a collaboration between representatives of the US National Intelligence Council (NIC) and the European Union’s Institute For Security Studies (EUISS).

Directly from the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence reporting on GG 2025:

“Three effects of rapid globalization are driving demands for more effective global governance……The shift to a multipolar world is complicating the prospects for effective global governance over the next 10 years. The expanding economic clout of emerging powers increases their political influence well beyond their borders. Power is not only shifting from established powers to rising countries and, to some extent, the developing world, but also toward nonstate actors. Diverse perspectives and suspicions about global governance, which is seen as a Western concept, will add to the difficulties of effectively mastering the growing number of challenges.

http://publicintelligence.net/national-intelligence-council-global-governance-2025-report/

The former is very important, not only because it falls under the control of the US President, but also due to the direct connections it has with the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, the National Intelligence Program and numerous branches of the US intelligence community. The latter is also hugely influential in matters of European security, defence and intelligence.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has been under hush-hush negotiations since 2008. It includes the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and, soon, Japan.

A “docking mechanism” would allow other countries, including China, to join over time.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama declared in his intent to complete negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The Obama administration has pursued the TPP through the offices of U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk instead of under the auspices of the Department of State.

This was the first time negotiations to create a free trade zone with Pacific Rim countries were made public although 15 rounds have been concluded. Eleven nations are participating: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. Although Japan and China are not presently participating in TPP negotiations, “docking provisions” being written into the TPP draft agreement would permit either Japan or China to join the TPP at a later date without suffering any disadvantage.

To implement the TPP free-trade agreement, Congress will be asked to surrender its responsibility under Section 1, Article 8 of the Constitution to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and grant President Obama extra-constitutional “Trade Promotion Authority” to negotiate the final TPP agreement. The administration seeks to gain “fast-track authority,” a provision under the Trade Promotion Authority that requires Congress to review an FTA under limited debate, in an accelerated time frame subject to a yes-or-no vote by a simple majority vote rather than a two-thirds vote, as required for the ratification of a formal treaty.

Under fast-track authority, there is no provision for Congress to modify the agreement by submitting amendments. Fast-track authority also treats the FTA as if it were trade legislation being negotiated by the executive branch. The purpose is to assure foreign partners that the FTA, once signed, will not be changed during the legislative process.

Because the TPP agreement places arbitral tribunals created under TPP to be above U.S. law, the Obama administration’s negotiation of the Trans-Pacific pact without specific consultation with Congress appears aimed at creating a judicial authority higher than the U.S. Supreme Court. The judicial entity could overrule decisions U.S. Federal District and Circuit courts make to apply U.S. laws and regulations to foreign corporations doing business within the United States.

The result appears to allow foreign companies doing business within the United States to operate in a legal and regulatory environment that would give the foreign companies decided economic advantages over U.S. companies that remain subject to U.S. laws and regulations.

As the secretly leaked documents titled ‘Report from Iron Mountain’ and “Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars’ reveal is a well planned, seriously debated agenda on how best control and reduce the mass of population to levels more to their desired outcome.

Also what these documents reveal is that these globalists have targeted for the takedown of the United States, which represents the ideology of a ‘free country’ with ‘free people’ of ‘free will’ to live their lives as they choose in pursuit of liberty and happiness.

They opine in these critical to know documents that once they have conquered the free will of the people of this country through debt slavery, mental mind control and deliberate dumbing down through the Bread and Circus routine used so successfully by the Ancient Romans in that the Rest of the World will fall like dominoes into lockstep once the U.S. is made into a “more maleable society” as Zbignew Zbrinski has stated.

Citizen activists in many of the TPP countries are building an inspiring global movement implementing the “Dracula strategy” to drag the TPP into the sunshine so those who will have to live with its consequences can know what’s coming and take action.

Civil society groups representing millions of members worldwide have joined together in raising the alarm. And, given the stunning audacity of the TPP’s prospective corporate power grab, activism is reaching beyond the environmental, consumer, labor, family farm, and access to medicines groups who have been the mainstay of movements against past “trade” agreement attacks. Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, Avaaz, Consumers International, tobacco controls groups, and many other organizations have become involved.

The contents have not been made public, but are known to the 600 “corporate advisors” helping write it, such as Chevron, Halliburton, Walmart, Ford, GE, AT&T, Cargill, Pfizer, and the Semiconductor Industry Association. Some information has come to light through leaks.

Like most trade agreements, the TPP is mostly not about trade but about giving corporations more rights to interfere with local laws. TPP tribunals staffed by corporate lawyers, outside the control of any government, would rule whether a country’s taxpayers must pay monetary damages to wronged corporations.

Negotiations begin in July on a Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and the European Union.

LOCAL LAWS TRUMPED

Corporations could sue governments over laws not to their liking. They are already doing so under existing “trade” agreements, but TPP would vastly expand the number of corporations and countries involved. For example, Australia passed a law requiring plain packaging for cigarettes (no Joe Camel). U.S.-based Philip Morris is in court over predicted lost sales.

After the Fukushima disaster, Germany enacted a moratorium on nuclear power; a Swedish energy company is now suing the German government. Bechtel sued Bolivia for undoing the privatization of its water supply. Corporations have already collected $365 million by suing governments, usually in developing countries, under existing treaties, and $13 billion more is pending in suits under NAFTA and the Central America (CAFTA) and Peru FTAs.

Most suits thus far are over environmental issues. But in June 2012, the French firm Veolia sued the Egyptian government for raising the minimum wage.

Under TPP, the corporation would sue the federal government, whether the case pertained to a federal, state, or local law or court decision. If the tribunal awarded damages to the corporation, the federal government would pay.

TPP would give international firms equal access to federal government contracts.

TPP would include aggressive intellectual property rules to protect Big Pharma’s patents and restrict access to generic medicines. The consequences for those unable to afford HIV drugs, for example, especially in poor countries, would include hundreds of thousands of deaths.

The U.S. Department of Energy has the authority to regulate exports of natural gas—but not to countries that have free trade agreements with the U.S. TPP would mean stepped-up natural gas exports, without review, to Japan, the world’s largest importer of natural gas, and therefore increased to find that gas.

And presumably, when U.S. states, counties, and cities ban fracking, energy companies from any interested country could try to get those bans overturned. (Domestic oil and gas companies are already suing over local fracking bans, such as in Longmont, Colorado, and Dryden, New York.)

JOBS GONE

These new rights for corporations are horrifying, but the most widespread effect of TPP would be job loss. The minimum wage in Vietnam, for example, is $2.23 a day, so labor-intensive industries are already eager to move there. The TPP would accelerate that process:

It would remove U.S. tariffs on goods produced in Vietnam and any other TPP country.

Manufacturers in capital-intensive industries (heavy machinery factories, paper mills, semiconductors), who might be reluctant to risk investment, would be protected against the threat of other countries’ passing new environmental or regulatory costs.

TPP’s protections against loss of “intellectual property” would reassure investors about building in Vietnam, where the majority of college grads are in math and science. Such concerns are currently a major disincentive for IT or research work in Vietnam, as its intellectual property practices are far looser than those in the U.S.

Most of the TPP’s proposed provisions instead comprise a corporate power grab. The TPP
would include extreme protections for foreign investors, which would help corporations offshore American jobs to low-wage countries. These terms would require governments to provide foreign investors a guaranteed “minimum standard of treatment” when they relocate, including special privileges and rights that domestic firms and investors do not enjoy. Foreign firms—or foreign subsidiaries of U.S. firms—could extract unlimited amounts of taxpayer money as compensation when investors claim that U.S. government actions undermine a corporation’s expected future profits.

http://www.labornotes.org/2013/07/secret-tpp-deal-would-void-democracy

http://www.citizen.org/documents/Leaked-TPP-Investment-Analysis.pdf

Report form Iron Mountain secret document

http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/esp_sociopol_ironmountain0.htm

Quiet Weapons for Silent Wars secret document.

http://usahitman.com/swfqwap/

    “Believe in a national first government”? Not quite sure what that means, but it’s not one of my beliefs. By ‘Clinton Moment’ I was referring to the similarity to Slick Willie’s endorsements of GATT, NAFTA & the WTO, all of which greased the skids for globalization. Remember Ross Perot’s ‘Giant Sucking Sound’? As you point out, this didn’t just start yesterday.

And the Global Empire consolidates in secret and silence…

http://wikileaks.org/tpp/

Today, 13 November 2013, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The WikiLeaks release of the text comes ahead of the decisive TPP Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013. The chapter published by WikiLeaks is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents. Significantly, the released text includes the negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states.

The TPP is the forerunner to the equally secret US-EU pact TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), for which President Obama initiated US-EU negotiations in January 2013. Together, the TPP and TTIP will cover more than 60 per cent of global GDP. Read full press release here

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