The Trans-Pacific Partnership

The following article is reproduced with permission of the author, Nile Bowie. The full text is available at the following URL:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-trans-pacific-partnership-tpp-an-oppressive-us-led-free-trade-agreement-a-corporate-power-tool-of-the-1/5329497

Global Research – Tuesday 2nd April 2013

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) an oppressive US-led free trade agreement, a corporate power-tool of the 1%
by Nile Bowie

One of the least discussed and least reported issues is the Obama administration’s effort to bring the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement to the forefront, an oppressive plurilateral US-led free trade agreement currently being negotiated with several Pacific Rim countries.

Six hundred US corporate advisors have negotiated and had input into the TPP, and the proposed draft text has not been made available to the public, the press or policymakers. The level of secrecy surrounding the agreements is unparalleled – paramilitary teams scatter outside the premise of each round of discussions while helicopters loom overhead – media outlets impose a near-total blackout of reportage on the subject and US Senator Ron Wyden, the Chair of the Congressional Committee with jurisdiction over TPP, was denied access to the negotiation texts. “The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations — like Halliburton, Chevron, PhaRMA, Comcast and the Motion Picture Association of America — are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement,” said Wyden, in a floor statement to Congress.

In addition to the United States, the countries participating in the negotiations include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Japan has expressed its desire to become a negotiating partner, but not yet joined negotiation, partly due to public pressure to steer-clear. The TPP would impose punishing regulations that give multinational corporations unprecedented rights to demand taxpayer compensation for policies they think will undermine their expected future profits straight from the treasuries of participating nations – it would push the agenda of Big PhaRMA in the developing world to impose longer monopoly controls on drugs, drastically limiting access to affordable generic medications that people depend on. The TPP would undermine food safety by limiting labeling and forcing countries like the United States to import food that fails to meet its national safety standards, in addition to banning Buy America or Buy Local preferences.

According to leaked draft texts, the TPP would also impose investor protections that incentivize offshoring jobs through special benefits for companies – the TPP stifles innovation by requiring internet service providers to police user-activity and treat small-scale individual downloads as large-scale for-profit violators. Most predictably, it would rollback regulation of finance capital predators on Wall Street by prohibiting bans on risky financial services and preventing signatory nations from exercising the ability to independently pursue monetary policy and issue capital controls – signatories must permit the free flow of derivatives, currency speculation and other manipulative financial instruments. The US-led partnership – which seeks to impose ‘Shock and Awe’ Globalization – aims to abolish the accountability of multinational corporations to the governments of countries with which they trade by making signatory governments accountable to corporations for costs imposed by national laws and regulations, including health, safety and environmental regulations.

The proposed legislation on Intellectual Property will have enormous ramifications for TPP signatories, including Internet termination for households, businesses, and organizations as an accepted penalty for copyright infringement. Signatory nations would essentially submit themselves to oppressive IP restrictions designed by Hollywood’s copyright cartels, severely limiting their ability to digitally exchange information on sites like YouTube, where streaming videos are considered copyrightable. “Broader copyright and intellectual property rights demands by the US would lock up the Internet, stifle research and increase education costs, by extending existing generous copyright from 70 years to 120 years, and even making it a criminal offense to temporarily store files on a computer without authorization. The US, as a net exporter of digital information, would be the only party to benefit from this,” said Patricia Ranald, convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network.

In the private investor-state that the TPP is attempting to establish, foreign corporations can sue national governments, submitting signatory countries to the jurisdiction of investor arbitral tribunals, staffed by private sector attorneys. International tribunals could have authority to order governments to pay unlimited cash compensation out of national treasuries to foreign corporations and investors if new or existing government policy hinders investors’ expected future profits. The domestic taxpayer in each signatory country must shoulder any compensation paid to private investors and foreign corporations, in addition to large hourly fees for tribunals and legal costs. A good example of how this agreement neuters national sovereignty comes from Malaysia, which was able to recover from the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis more quickly than its neighbors by introducing a series of capital control measures on the Malaysian ringgit to prevent external speculation – the TPP’s proposed measures would restrict signatory nations from exercising capital controls to prevent and mitigate financial crises and promote financial stability.

The TPP regime ensures that foreign investors and multinational corporations retain full rights to undermine the sovereignty of participatory nations by skirting domestic regulations and limiting the abilities of national governments to issue independent economic policy. There has never been such a sweeping corporate assault on sovereignty, and that includes US sovereignty. Leaked TPP documents detail how the Obama administration intends to surrender US sovereignty to international tribunals that operate under World Bank and UN rules to settle disputes arising under the TPP, specifically designed to leave Congress out in the cold while creating a judicial authority higher than the US Supreme Court. In theory, the TPP would give international judicial entities the authority to override US laws, allowing foreign companies doing business in the United States the privilege of operating in a legal environment that would give them significant economic advantages over American companies that remain tied to US laws, placing domestic companies who do not move offshore at a competitive disadvantage.

Facing the emergence of strong developing economies like the BRICS group and other nations that seek greater access to industrial growth and development, the Obama administration realizes that it must offer Pacific nations – who would otherwise have greater incentives in deepening economic ties with China – an attractive stake in the US economy. As the Pentagon repositions its military muscle to the Asia-Pacific region, the TPP is clearly the economic arm of the ‘Asia Pivot’ policy, roping strategic economies into a legally binding corporate-governance regime, lured in by the promise of unfettered access to US markets. The Obama administration is essentially prostituting the American consumer to foreign corporations to usher in a deal that would impose one-size-fits all international rules that even limit the US government’s right to regulate foreign investment and the appropriation of natural resources, solidifying a long-discussed model of finance capital-backed global governance.

Of the 26 chapters of the proposed TPP draft text, it is reported that only two chapters cover trade issues, related to slashing tariffs and lifting quotas. The TPP would obligate the federal government to force US states to conform state laws to over a thousand pages of detailed stipulations and constraints unrelated to trade – from land use to intellectual property rights – authorizing the federal authorities to use all possible means to coax states to comply with TPP rules, even by imposing sanctions if they fail to do so. According to leaked documents, US standards for property rights protection would be swept away in favor of international property rights standards, as interpreted by TPP’s unelected international tribunals, giving investors principal control over public land and resources “that are not for the exclusive or predominant use and benefit of the government.”

Due to the unconstitutional nature of the TPP, members of Congress would likely object to many of its stipulations – naturally, the Obama administration is employing its executive muscle to restrict congressional authority by operating under “fast-track authority,” a trade provision that requires Congress to review an FTA under limited debate in an accelerated time frame subject to a yes-or-no vote so as to assure foreign partners that the FTA, once signed, will not be changed during the legislative process. No formal steps have been taken to consult Congress as the agreement continues to be negotiated, and Obama looks set to subtly ram the treaty into law. Such is the toxic nature of US policies that seek to bring in disaster-capitalism on a global scale, while keeping those whose lives will be most affected by deal completely in the dark. The message behind this unfettered corporate smash and grab is simple – bend over!

Recent statistics  claim that the combined economic output of Brazil, China and India will surpass that of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States by 2020. More than 80% of the world’s middle class will live in the South by 2030, and what a different world that would be. The United States is economically ailing, and the TPP – Wall Street’s wet dream and Washington’s answer to its own dwindling economic performance – is designed to allow US big business a greater stake in the emerging Pacific region by imposing an exploitative economic model on signatory nations that exempt multinationals and private investors from any form of public accountability. The TPP’s origins go back to the second Bush administration, and it still remains in the negotiating phases under Obama’s second administration. The overwhelming lack of transparency surrounding the talks lends credence to what is known already – that the contents of this trade agreement serve the interests of those on the top of the economic food chain while the rest of us stagnate on the menu.

[End of Article]

*Nile Bowie is an independent political analyst and photographer based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He can be reached at nilebowie "at"gmail.com

Editor's Note:

People like Nile Bowie are fighting a great and noble battle against an evil enemy that is immeasurably stronger, so, everyone, give him all the support you can, including emailing him to give encouragement.

And, of course, spread the word.

Philip Gegan

Alice in Recoveryland

This article was first posted in May, 2009.

The legendary giant American car-maker Chrysler has filed for bankruptcy. It may be saved by being bought by Fiat of Italy. With General Motors and Ford both still heavily dependent on the US Government for bail-out cash, the US auto industry is now in danger of complete collapse. It will probably join Britain's car industry in being restricted to the minority top end of the market.

Meanwhile in the UK, where at least £35 billion of taxpayers' cash has been pumped into bailing out the banks, the chief bankers have awarded themselves around £7 billion in bonuses for having done such a good job over the last 12 months. These people obviously live on another planet where bankers have a right to pay themselves millions of pounds or dollars, drive around in new, expensive luxury cars (imported from abroad), live in spectacular, sumptuous mansions or penthouses, and take frequent, expensive holidays in various idyllic, exotic locations, in return for having nearly bankrupted the whole country through reckless trading and disastrous decision-making in their blind pursuit of profits.

This even puts in the shade (and that's saying something) the antics of our Members of Parliament, who are busy feathering their own nests with unlawful claims upon the public purse such as allowances for second homes that don't actually exist, and so on. The list goes on.

Then in another room of the asylum there are politicians claiming to see the "green shoots of recovery", and saying that before long we'll be back on track again (i.e. living on credit, on the surface of a fragile credit bubble, ostensibly well-off in spite of not producing anything much and importing most of what we consume).

Back in the real world, what we have is a calamity almost beyond belief. Whole wealth-producing swathes of the economies of the western world - particularly the USA and the UK - have been wiped out. Comparing this recession to the 1930s is a false comparison, because back then both countries had fundamentally strong economies and only limited foreign competition.

Now, taking the UK (where I live) as the main example, we have had most of our coal mines shut down, our oil and gas reserves are dwindling, our manufacturing base has been all but completely destroyed by cheap foreign imports, and our farmers, of course, have always been treated absolutely disgracefully. Agriculture could have flourished here over the last 50 or 60 years, instead of which many farmers have struggled to survive and have been made dependent on cash handouts from the so-called "European Union" for producing crops such as oil seed rape that nobody really wants.

I'm afraid the truth is that there is no real "recovery" round the corner. This recession is a watershed in the history of civilisation. It was inevitable from the moment the easy credit and free trade policies were ushered in some thirty or forty years ago. Nearly all politicians of all major political parties, in Britain, Europe and the US, supported these ludicrous policies and now everyone can see where they've brought us.

But it has benefited some people. The "global elite" of David Rothkopf's "Superclass", who control western politicians like puppets on a string, must be very pleased with themselves. They love weak, bankrupt governments and industries. It makes themselves more powerful and hastens the implementation of their hidden agenda.

And just what is their hidden agenda? This video clip of an interview of the late Aaron Russo exposing Nick Rockefeller's admission to him of the aims of the global elite gives us a big clue.

So you know what you have to do now . . .

Spread the word

Philip Gegan

 

 

 

 

Economic Globalisation, the Economy Downturn and the Real Truth

The following article was first posted on 16th March 2009.

"Globalisation" has been the in thing for establishment economists and dumb politicians for years. According to them it is largely responsible for our so-called prosperity over the last 50 years. They are in a state of shock that the recession has hit in spite of the massive globalisation that has taken place. But let's cut away the rubbish and have a look at how things really are.

Economic globalisation and the economy downturn are almost like two sides of the same coin. So how is it most people are unable to see it that way? How many people can actually say they know anything at all about "globalisation"? It exists in the public mind as only a hazy idea, even a good one, for, so it is thought, it is the reason why we can buy all those mouth-watering, must-have gadgets in their colourful packaging for such low prices.

Here in the UK, and I know in most other western counties as well, we have in our shops and showrooms cars, TVs, electronic gadgets and household goods that have been manufactured for the most part in the far east. Certainly nearly all the manufactured goods you can buy are made somewhere overseas. Why should this be?

Because these manufactured goods are cheap. They have undercut our own manufactured goods for so long that all the factories that used to make these goods have had to close down. The men and women formerly employed in these factories have either become part of the long-term unemployed, funded by the tax payer, or have had to become shelf stackers at a supermarket, or take up other, non-wealth-producing roles in order to survive.

And all because of "globalisation", which has made it possible for multi-national corporations to switch production from western countries, with their higher labour costs, to places like the far east, where the labour force works long hours and is prepared to accept wages that we in the west could never live on. Take China, for example. Their workers are happy to be paid the equivalent of $50 or so a week, often less, and the Chinese government is happy to have a healthy trade surplus and comparatively full employment.

But with these cheap consumer goods comes a fatal side-effect. Anyone with a couple of brain cells to rub together knows that we really should be making these products ourselves. After all, we in the west for the most part produced the technology and the genius that led to the invention and development of these electronic marvels in the first place. So it's only right that our own country and our own people should benefit from the profits they earn. But under "globalisation" this doesn't happen.

Instead, the manufacturing rights of every invention, every new development, either belong to a multinational corporation, through its research and development programme, or are purchased from the original inventor. The goods are then produced in a far eastern country while we in the west are saddled with high unemployment and all the social problems that go with it.

Meanwhile, we carry on purchasing most of the goods we need from overseas. How long can we go on indulging in this lunacy before we as a nation run out of foreign exchange to pay for them?

This has actually already happened. Both Great Britain and the United States are effectively bankrupt, unable to repay their foreign loans if repayment were demanded. This is probably the main reason why China, for example, as the leading creditor country of both countries, will never demand repayment. If it did, both the UK and the USA would be forced to default.

This would lead to a massive devaluation of the pound and the dollar to render them worth only a fraction of their previous value. And this would be disastrous to China, whose foreign reserves consist mostly of these two currencies and whose economy therefore depends on the present charade continuing ad infinitum.

Already the recession has impacted this arrangement. Spiraling unemployment in the west has led to a collapse in demand for consumer goods, and this in turn has led to a sharp rise in unemployment in the far east including China.

Economic globalisation, long held dear by establishment economists and ignorant politicians, is proving to be a disaster for every country. It's the modern-day equivalent of "free trade", which caused so much suffering to the working classes of western countries throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It embraces the "free movement of labour" and the "free movement of capital" that are policies enshrined in the treaties of international bodies such as the corrupt, so-called "European Union".

What these fine-sounding slogans really mean is that huge, international manufacturing corporations responsible for producing everything from cars and computers to essential medical and technical equipment, and everything in between, are free to slash their labour costs by moving production to the far east ("free movement of capital") and if the poor, wretched working people of the west find they are subsequently out of work, why, they can move around the globe until they find a job ("free movement of labour"), provided they will accept the lowest wages being paid anywhere.

The collapse in manufacturing capacity that this process has brought about in western countries may have benefited the "Superclass" of David Rothkopf's book, who undoubtedly own and control most of the world's wealth, including its productive capacity. But it has been disastrous for individual nations, including the ordinary working folk. The cost is not just financial, but social as well, as unemployed youngsters with no future turn to drugs and crime,
encouraged to do this as they are by insanely liberal criminal laws.

Next time you hear some university professor or politician praising globalisation / free trade or warning us against "protectionism" you may want to challenge them along the lines set out in this blog post. Before you do, make sure you have downloaded "Promise To Pay", available free of charge from our home page at Ancient Banking Secret.

And then . . .

Spread the word.

Philip Gegan