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Jim McCluskey, informed by his experience in the world of civil engineering, writes:
“In my previous letter I warned that the secret negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will transfer power from government to multinational corporations. TTIP aims to remove regulations which limit the potential profits of transnational corporations. It gives corporations the power to sue governments if the corporation alleges protective legislation threatens their profits”.
He quotes a view, held by many commentators, that ‘TTIP elevates transnational capital to a legal status equivalent to that of the nation state’:
“Disputes between government and corporations will be dealt with in secret in front of a tribunal composed of a small clique of lawyers. The system is called ‘Investor State Dispute Settlement’ (ISDS). Corporations are already suing governments under investor-state regulations- over 500 known cases have now been filed against at least 95 countries:
- The Canadian company AbitibiBowater sued the government and the government has to pay it 122 million dollars.
- We, the UK taxpayer, are paying 700 million pounds to Fujitsu over a NHS contract.
- Philip Morris sued the Australian government over its plain packaging rules.
- The Swedish corporation Battenfall sued the German government over its decision to phase out nuclear power
- and a French firm is suing the government of Egypt over its increase in minimum wage.
“Regulations which could be under threat include those which protect labour rights, food safety, genetically modified organisms in plants and animals, regulations regarding toxic chemicals, banking safeguards and digital privacy”.
Jim McCluskey hopes that readers will consider asking their MP why our government is secretly negotiating to pass massive powers to corporations.
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Will future military action be confined to relatively inexpensive drone strikes?
Indian official quoted in the Hindu: “If the American intelligence agencies and business corporations are hunting in pairs, we are bound to lose” According to a top secret document disclosed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and obtained by The Hindu, the PRISM programme has been deployed by the American agency to gather key information from India by tapping directly into the servers of tech giants which provide services such as email, video sharing, file transfer and social networking services.
The document also records that NSA collected data about subjects ranging from oil to WTO to government policies from several Asian, African and Latin American countries, making it clear that the American spying was focused on commercial and business areas, and not on its stated objective of national security.
America uncovered – endangering food safety, access to medicines and national sovereignty?
A few days ago David Pilling and Shawn Donnan noted in the Financial Times that some suspect American goals are geopolitical as much as commercial. In an article focussing on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it was said that opponents see TPP as a “giant corporate power grab” that would endanger food safety, access to medicines and national sovereignty.
They record that China’s official media have said that the TPP process involves the US in “corralling Pacific nations against Beijing’s interests”, adding that Vali Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, argues that the US, through its parallel free-trade talks with Europe, “is trying to block off the two biggest areas of global gross domestic product from what Washington considers its main rival”.
Initiatives by the Masters of the World, groundwork done by their lobbyists
America has initiated an EU-US trade deal and both negotiations exclude the people of the states involved. As a comment on the FT article says: “Most of this has been negotiated behind closed doors, including excluding politicians from member states from participating in discussions, and by all accounts Obama wants to further restrict access and opportunity for politicians (who theoretically represent the people) from having input”.
According to Josh Wise, writing in Minnesota’s ‘Star Tribune, these “so-called “free-trade agreements” are going to continue to be a tool for multinational corporations to further deregulate themselves and hamstring local governments and communities in protecting their quality of life”.
He ends, ”Until we can break the corporate stranglehold on trade treaty negotiations, then regardless of who is in the White House or Congress, these deals are only going to continue the global race to the bottom for wages, the environment and consumers”.
The Hindu believes that the flattering rhetoric of close strategic partnerships has been ‘busted’ – will other nations ‘get wise’ and look at actions ‘on the ground’ and their consequences?
Sourceshttp://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nsa-targets-indian-politics-space-nprogrammes/article5161299.ece http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_%28surveillance_program%29 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8c253c5c-2056-11e3-b8c6-00144feab7de.html#ixzz2fnADtwRK http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/204582681.html?refer=y .
Tags: Access to medicines, Drone strikes, Edward Snowden, EU-US trade deal, Food safety, Masters of the World, National sovereignty, NSA, Star Tribune, The Financial Times, The Hindu, The PRISM programme, Trans-Pacific Partnership