Preface by Pam Barker | TLB staff writer
Back in 2012, journalist Brett Redmayne-Titley had unique, much-coveted ‘stakeholder’ access to the TPP negotiations in San Diego, unique because he was the only reporter present who wasn’t pro-TPP. In this highly informative article, the first in a series, he takes us back to the meeting at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront over an 8-day period in early July 2012 during which time round thirteen of the ‘negotiations’ were taking place.
To be clear, the TPP is the trans-Pacific Trade Treaty, as distinct from the TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, between the US and the many European countries. Currently, the TTIP is facing a lot of opposition on the European side and likely won’t be ratified any time soon. The TPP, however, is close to being ratified by Congress and has already been signed by 12 countries. The TPP involves US, Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and New Zealand.
One of the central claims of this article is that Obama is clearly a traitor because the TPP agreement, created and pushed in secret by his administration, ‘effectively allows for the overthrow of the legal sovereignty and national jurisdiction of the United States’ courts and political system to a foreign power. This is the very definition of treason.’
As Redmayne-Titley reminds us, the TPP allows the big corporations to circumvent all American laws, regulations and rights that lawmakers at both the federal and state level, plus its highest court, will be completely unable to contest. The corporate court that the TPP will institute has made ‘Technical Barrier to Trade’ the new crime and all its decisions will be final. Such decisions could oblige citizens to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to these big corporations as compensation and the local state representatives would be completely powerless to stop it. But it’s only the big corporate players who can do this:
American-based corporations will not have access to the authoritarian controls and manipulations of the TPP treaty. These luxuries are only available to the big multi-national corporations. Smaller American corporations will be subordinate to the whims of TPP.
If we needed more confirmation that our elected representatives have long been batting for the other side, this is it.
Enjoy this timely and provocative piece.
By Brett Redmayne-Titley
Foreword: The secret Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is very close to ratification by the US Congress and the final draft of this insidious corporate takeover has already been signed by twelve countries that value corporate interests more than those of their own sovereign nations. In Europe and the UK the TTIP treaty is the mirror image of this proposed treasonous treaty and just as secret. Both must be stopped! Now!
In July of 2012, thanks to the help of local activists the author obtained a Press Pass and a very coveted “Stakeholder’s Pass” that allowed him into the San Diego TPP negotiations, thus being the only reporter present who was not pro-TPP. His tough questions, interviews, and press conference challenges put the author in the line-of-fire and led to a shocking, multi-part exposé, possibly the most in-depth, inside look at TPP.
Due to the constant secrecy of the TPP negations – highlighted in this series – very little new information has been revealed since. In an effort to provide the reader information on the threat of TPP, Activist Post is kindly re-publishing the series – one part each day – as a service to its American and world-wide readers. A new final chapter will be offered that will include the most recent updated information. TPP and TTIP must be stopped! Read on and find out why. TPP is not secret anymore! B.R-T.
“We have to stop them before it gets to Congress”, warned Brooke Harper, referring to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the proposed pan-Pacific trade treaty. This is likely the most insidious piece of corporate-inspired global legislation ever to be secretly slipped through the halls of the US Congress. Its details were a secret until two weeks ago. Now, opposition must rise quickly. The consequences for America and eleven other nations are indeed terminal.
Ms. Harper, who represents Global Trade Watch, an organization based in Wash. DC, has just arrived in San Diego. Her goal: to rally Southern California area activists in preparation for the upcoming TPP eight-day negotiations to be held at the Hilton/San Diego Bayfront, in San Diego, July 2-10, 2012. This is round thirteen of the “negotiations.”
A crowd of about forty, representing activist groups from the San Diego area, listened as Harper explained the depth of the threat posed by TPP. They had gathered at Canvass for a Cause, a community hall in the City Heights area. What the audience heard was chilling and went far beyond the fringes of our current broken American democracy and its corrupt politicians.
US Pres. Barack Obama is a traitor. Period. This underhanded treaty secretly sells out the American people’s legal, sovereign, and constitutional protections in favor of this president’s corporate puppet masters. The concept, inception, and mechanism of the TPP treaty – as well as the effort to secretly pass it – come, solely, from the Obama administration. In doing so, our one-time constitutional scholar president attempts to create a new, world-wide, corporate dynasty. TPP effectively allows for the overthrow of the legal sovereignty and national jurisdiction of the United States’ courts and political system to a foreign power. This is the very definition of treason.
If Americans don’t stop TPP corporations will literally be able to circumvent the existing laws of the EPA, FDA, trade unions, collective bargaining agreements, patent protections, banking regulations and many other American regulations and rights. All will be negated solely by the arbitrary diktats of corporations. This treason is being currently and secretly included in the language of the TPP treaty here in San Diego. Should state, local, or federal governmental agencies attempt to enforce American laws in favor of their citizens that conflict with the wishes of the multi-nationals, a separate corporate court will have supreme jurisdiction – and the last say – over any American governmental agency. Ominously called, “The Tribunal,” it has the power to override any existing American regulation. Absurdly, Federal agencies, State Gov’ts, City authorities, citizen’s property rights, and competing American corporate interests will be considered as the Defendant before this tribunal. When brought to the dock, these defendants – these nations – will be charged, by the plaintiff corporation, with a new crime: “Technical Barrier to Trade.” Really.
The Tribunal issues all final, irrevocable, decisions. Should the defendant national interest choose not to comply with the Tribunal’s diktat, or refuse to pay the Tribunal ordered financial compensation, the judgment – per the TPP treaty – will be enforced by the federal gov’t against subservient that American interest.
Making matters even worse, American-based corporations will not have access to the authoritarian controls and manipulations of the TPP treaty. These luxuries are only available to the big multi-national corporations. Smaller American corporations will be subordinate to the whims of TPP.
So… your state decides to place a health tax on cigarettes of one dollar a pack, as compensation for increased healthcare costs created by smokers of your state. (California’s Prop 29 attempted to do this in the last primary election.) The voters actually approve the tax in a democratic referendum. This seems pretty fair, so far. Au Contraire.
R.J. Reynolds doesn’t like this anecdote of democracy, considering it bad for business, and their profits. Increased healthcare costs from a self-propagating addiction be-damned; big corporations, at least the ones with real power, don’t worry about the trifles of such democracy. This aggrieved corporation merely turns to the, “Investor/State Dispute Resolution Tribunal.” No need to waste time in a state or federal court – nor the Supreme Court of the United States – these courts will be useless at the hands of the “Tribunal.”
This corporate-sponsored, US congressional science fiction continues when, next, considering the makeup of the Tribunal and its members. Composed of just three corporate lawyers (remember what Shakespeare said?), the three will be divided into; one with experience with the defendant’s issues, one for the plaintiff corporation, and a third who is, somehow, neutral. The Tribunal will meet in closed session away from cameras and reporters when adjudicating disputes between sovereign national, American, federal, state, or local laws and the wishes of the corporations whose countries’ governments will have treasonously ratified the TPP treaty.
With the likelihood of any national interest prevailing at the Tribunal being effectively nil, the tribunal now rules against your state’s cigarette tax. The tax is ordered to be repealed and, as punishment to the state for the crime of effecting a “technical barrier to trade,” money damages are awarded to the plaintiff corporation. This manufactured new term is the mantra of TPP and translates directly in this case into, “your (healthcare) law is restricting our profits.”
The Tribunal then issues an order for compensation of, hypothetically, one hundred million dollars, due to the loss of profits to R.J. Reynolds tobacco sales. Your state’s attorney general says, “over my dead body”, and heads for the Appeals court, perhaps the Supreme Court. Au Contraire.
Here lies the true treason of TPP. It grants, once Congress ratifies it, the complete nullification of the jurisdiction of all US courts regarding matters before the tribunal. So your state loses. Automatically.
Well, now your state treasurer says, “we’ll never pay.” Good luck! Thanks to TPP, and a majority of similarly treasonous US Congressman, the federal government, which has authority over the states, must then enforce the monetary judgment. Your state’s treasurer wakes up one morning to a call from the bank. It’s something about a $100 million withdrawal. Uncle Sam just stole your state’s $100 million and gave it to R.J. Reynolds. And there wasn’t a damn thing your state could do to stop it.
This is not fantasy. Nor hyperbole. It has already happened.
Right now, Australia is under a similar legal attack by Phillip Morris, Ltd, one of the world’s largest cigarette manufacturers. Because of a similar existing, Hong Kong/Australia, trade treaty, Phillip Morris is currently seeking tens of millions of dollars in monetary damages from the Australian Gov’t. Previously, the Aussies decided to mandate plain paper packaging of all cigarettes and that this packaging feature a large health warning as well as some very ghastly color images of diseased lungs, stomas, etc., all designed to discourage smoking. However, thanks to the terms of this real-life treaty, Australia’s justice ministry is currently fending-off Phillip Morris and their very arbitrary – and very large – money judgment delivered by a Tribunal.
The Obama administration’s treason in propagating TPP is shown in many other likely future edicts. Using the broad brush of “Technical Barrier to Trade” pro-American interests may soon be banned. Green Energy, an Obama campaign promise, will not be a reality as this would compete with the much stronger oil industry. Healthcare for employees? Also gone, due to the cost to employers. Patent terms would be lengthened to as much as ninety-nine years so as to restrict the production of cheaper generic drugs of same quality, thereby maintaining higher prices and restricting access to medication in impoverished counties. How many millions of people world-wide who may die will never be known. Banking regulation, already minimal, will be gone. The few remaining small farmers will be forced from their land by multi-national agri-business. Fracking? Whether you like it, or not! These are just the obvious examples.
Substitute into this scenario any governmental agency, fit in any restriction to corporate profit, and add the name of any multi-national corporation and the story plays out the same. These requirements are actually currently written into the first two chapters of the TPP treaty – recently leaked to the public. There are working-drafts in progress for twenty-six additional chapters. Most have nothing to do with trade, but rather impose limits on domestic food safety, health, environmental, and other policies. The first two are bad enough. These draft copies were released to Global Trade Watch two weeks ago. The governments involved, including the US, won’t release the texts to the public. Nor to elected US congresspersons and Senators! However, 600 corporate “trade advisors” have full access.
What was – two weeks ago – initially met with a collective gasp by most media, was quickly dampened to a mumble after a one-day news cycle. It is now missing from the pages of our nations’ corporate-controlled media, much like the recent NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) subterfuge. Media scoundrels are doing their job efficiently. During a the previous Dallas negotiations, despite the presence of over 400 area protesters, there was only one media crew, from Japan, present to cover the event.
Tonight, these forty-plus activist leaders are determined to make the week of July 2 -10 a call to action, and bring the attention of their American and world-wide brethren to the pending horror of TPP.
After a 90-minute presentation by Brooke Harper on the nuances of TPP, the gathering spent another hour and a half discussing protest plans for each day of the week during the TPP negotiations. A coordinated effort from across Southern California is expected to make a strong presence daily. Twenty members of the group have been given passes to enter the assembly each day as, “Stakeholders”, (implying that they actually have a say in the negotiations) and can meet and discuss issues with the official trade representatives of the countries present. Harper warns these stakeholders to be prepared for the self-serving arguments of the negotiators, since the invitation is designed to be the foil for the negotiators to challenge these protesters in public and thus legitimize the TPP process.
The countries who are party to this attempt at corporate world domination, i.e. globalization, are United States, Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. All these countries are champions of this new corporate Democratic model.
The TPP negotiators refer to the treaty as a “Docking Agreement” meaning it is an opportunity for other countries to join. Mexico and Canada have recently joined.
Two-and a- half years ago, America’s one-time constitutional scholar president commenced his assault on Americans’ best interests by commissioning, in secret, the drafting of the TPP treaty. Next, his administration just as secretly began inviting countries to participate in the negotiations. These negotiations have been continuing routinely, with the recent twelfth stopover in Dallas, Texas this past May and now San Diego. All the twenty US trade negotiators and the US trade representative, Ron Kirk, will be present at the TPP conference. All were selected by Obama.
This president’s treason must deliberately be concealed as the release of secret two chapters reveals. US Congressmen and Senators will not be able to see a final draft until it is submitted to them for consideration, and presumably, automatic passage. This pre-authored TPP treaty, in the mold of so many previous pieces of legislation pre-authored by A.L.E.C. (American Legislative Exchange Council), will have no need to be read by these congressmen, who seem – due their lack of interest – already in the bag. The likely punch-line to this treasonous joke will be: that Obama will use his “fast-track authority” via current US trade authority, to get this through Congress without the possibility of formal congressional review – or massive public outcry. Like his midnight signature to the secret “ear-mark” provisions of this past New Year’s sinister NDAA, this treasonous president, and his congressional co-conspirators, attempt to put, using TPP, a final death nail in American democracy.
The time-line for passage of the TPP treaty by the US Congress and the other member nations is intended to be by late summer this year.
So far, just two congresswomen are taking an interest in protecting American sovereignty and its citizens from TPP. Reps. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT) and Rep. Donna Edwards (D- MD) are the current leaders in exposing and challenging TPP. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), chairman of the Trade Committee in the Senate, which supposedly has jurisdiction over trade agreements, has been denied any access to viewing a copy despite persistent requests. Already – even before ratification – a US senator lacks standing or jurisdiction in the eyes of the TPP conspirators.
Times were dire and corporations were already running amuck over public interests before the sudden, shocking, news of TPP. Now, corporations seek supreme authority over sovereign nations. Desperate and ever greedy, the minions of authoritarian, corporate democracy wish to give their corporate masters the keys to the base of the financial pyramid. From Citizens United to the BP oil disaster cover-up; from Obama’s sham Heath Care bill to the NDAA’s new gutting of American civil liberties, these treasons were not enough. We now have TPP, designed to finish the job. It must be stopped. Efforts in San Diego and across the nation must commence. Congressmen must be contacted. Phones must ring. The call to national action must go out.
Or the last vestiges of freedom will.
George Orwell cried last night. The “Pigs” are winning.
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About the author
Brett Redmayne Titley is an independent journalist, photographer and world citizen; Former Columnist: PRESS TV/IRAN; Writer & Contributor To: Earth First!; Veterans Today; Western Journalism; Intellihub; Shift Frequency; Fars News Agency; Blacklisted News; Before It’s News; Common Dreams; Activist Post.
About the contributor
Pam Barker is a TLB staff writer/analyst. She has an extensive background in the educational system of several countries at the college and university level as a teacher and administrator