Volatility

February 28, 2015

The Current State of the TTIP

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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker recently declared, “There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties.” He was referring to the iron resolve of the Eurozone cabal to crush any Greek attempt to liberate itself from the economic war of aggression called “austerity”. This ideological proclamation can be applied just as much to the Commission’s resolve to join the US government and the global corporations in a second and parallel economic war waged upon the people. This is the attempt to impose upon the people of America and Europe a corporate dictatorship in the form of a globalization treaty, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the TTIP. A similar attempt is ongoing on the other side of the world with the Transpacific Partnership, the TPP. I focus on the TTIP, but everything I say applies to the TPP as well.
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The US government and the European Commission were hoping to have the TTIP wrapped up and ratified by a year ago, but democratic pressures have forced a big slowdown, as the EC and officials from various member states have sought to get their propaganda in order. Thus the EC felt compelled to hold a bogus “public consultation” (the equivalent of a public comment period) on the most controversial element of the plan, Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), while government officials struggled to present a united front in promising that the TTIP would not lead directly to such outcomes as the privatization of Britain’s health system or the eradication of European truth-in-geographical-branding regulations, a common concern everywhere. It obviously will bring these and far worse outcomes, as some officials admitted before later backpedaling. Meanwhile even high-level pro-TTIP (and pro-CETA, Canada-Europe Trade Agreement, another pact which was supposed to be completed in 2014 but has stalled) officials are now telling the US they think ISDS is overkill. They give legalistic reasons for this change of heart, though the main reason must be that they think it’s political overkill which threatens ratification of the pact itself. That’s why the EC had to take time out for the “consultation” a year ago.
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Indeed, European civil society must ensure that it’s political overkill, enough overkill to kill the pacts. This is their best bet for getting the European Parliament and/or the governments of the 28 EU member states to refuse to ratify these two pacts. Even if ISDS is taken out of the agreement(s) in a de jure sense, we must go ahead and say it’s still in there, since the only thing which will have changed is that instead of explicitly enshrining it upfront like they’d originally planned, they’ll instead seek to institute its equivalent gradually through the permanent and ongoing “regulatory coherence” war plan. This is where all the most inflammatory goals are likely to seek realization, for example the gutting of the precautionary principle.
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In spite of the delay, the negotiations are gradually oozing forward. Early in February US and EC representatives met in Brussels to draft the sector specific Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) provisions of the TTIP. This includes the pact’s goal of gutting all that still exists of food safety, public health, and animal welfare regulation. The draft encodes almost all the demands submitted by industry, including the establishment of a secret US/EC/corporate committee that would have the power to oversee safety regulation prior to government regulatory processes, pact-imposed federal preemption in the US and Europe, an effective ban on any future restrictions on product classes, severe restrictions on customs inspections at the port of entry, the requirement that all regulations be “harmonized” with the WTO and its Codex Alimentarius, and many other draconian clauses. It formally institutes ISDS within these sectors. It pays lip service to government rights to protect human life and animal and plant health, but governments may do this only in ways that are the “least trade restrictive”. How can you enshrine a value like protecting human life but then put a restriction on it – a restriction which strongly implies that corporate profit is a higher value than human life. Obviously this is the same as not valuing human life at all, as indeed these pro-globalization activists and their supporters do not.
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The goal here as with every other part of the TTIP is to gut all public interest and democratic controls. Power and effective decision-making are to be shifted from member states and the EC itself to the pact committees. The same is to happen in the US. In addition to a radical escalation of the existing trend toward federal preemption and usurpation of the power that rightly reposes at lower levels of government and sovereignty, effective power is also to be shifted from the US system in general to the TTIP itself. The real power and control will be wielded by the corporate oligopoly sectors. This is typical of all such globalization policy. The TTIP is explicit in its charter: The goal is to maximize supply-driven “trade” and profits “to the greatest extent possible”. At the SPS committee meetings hundreds demonstrated against this “Trojan Horse Treaty”, which under the fraudulent rubric of “free trade” seeks to establish the closest thing yet to direct corporate dictatorship on a mass scale.
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I’ve written extensively about the rise of corporate domination. In Part Two we’ll review this evolution of government power from the nation-state to the modern bureaucratic state to globalization and corporate rule.

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5 Comments

  1. ……..The other problem pro GMO countries being Spain and Portugal, so I understand and maybe a couple of others.
    So why is this?
    As far as the UK goes, here perhaps are some clues:
    http://devinder-sharma.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/how-margaret-thatcher-destroyed-public.html
    http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/biotech-ambassadors/
    http://corporateeurope.org/international-trade/2015/02/which-groups-are-lobbying-uk-government-ttip
    Conflicts of Interest at ACRE:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/advisory-committee-on-releases-to-the-environment
    See Members’ biographies and register of interests
    https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/advisory-committee-on-releases-to-the-environment/about/our-governance
    http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2015-articles/15868-meps-approve-national-bans-on-gm-crops-cultivation
    Also there is a problem with some UK economists and some “establishment scientists”.
    Note CEPR
    http://corporateeurope.org/trade/2013/09/busting-myths-transparency-around-eu-us-trade-deal
    “The London based CEPR is funded by some of the world’s largest banks which stand to benefit from the proposed transatlantic trade deal – including Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Santander, Barclays and JP Morgan.”
    http://powerbase.info/index.php/Science_Media_Centre
    http://www.spinwatch.org/index.php/issues/science/item/162-food-standards-agency-public-dialogue-on-gm-rocked-by-resignations-and-accusations-of-pro-gm-bias
    Steven Duker has issued a challenge to The Royal Society:
    http://beyond-gm.org/new-book-exposes-systematic-government-and-scientific-fraud-over-gm-food/
    There is of course considerable opposition to TTIP in the UK.
    As far as GMOs go, UK consumers must act now and voice their opposition to politicians, think tanks and “establishment” scientists/economists/other reductionist academics. All support from the US welcomed!
    Russ may have already covered some of this in previous articles.

    Comment by Theresa — March 7, 2015 @ 4:17 pm

    • Lots of good stuff, thanks Theresa. I think UK consumers have to voice their opposition most of all to supermarkets and other retailers. Although there were some big setbacks in 2013, you’ve had far better results there than we’ve had in the US so far. But here too I think that’s ultimately a most promising line of attack. Politicians need to be put on notice too, and pressured where possible. Entrenched true-believer scienticians and technocrats are beyond any kind of rational discourse and need to be attacked and have their legitimacy demolished.

      Comment by Russ — March 8, 2015 @ 3:47 am

      • Many thanks Russ, I had meant to post my comment to follow on from my comment on 7 March.
        I very much like your sentence “Entrenched true-believer scienticians and technocrats are beyond any kind of rational discourse and need to be attacked and have their legitimacy demolished”. However, I was not familiar with the phrase “true-believer” (I looked it up on wiki). Perhaps you could please say a few more words in the context of peer review, reductionist science and career structures with regard to education.
        http://www.independentsciencenews.org/science-media/the-goodman-affair-monsanto-targets-the-heart-of-science/
        The Devinder Sharma link I posted above provides food for thought.
        http://devinder-sharma.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/how-margaret-thatcher-destroyed-public.html
        http://www.globalresearch.ca/genetically-modified-food-and-the-false-gmo-narrative-britains-corporate-political-parrots/5424955

        Comment by Theresa — March 8, 2015 @ 7:39 am

      • You’re welcome Theresa. I’ll be writing more on those in time once I get to them. I’ll just point out for now that peer review itself is increasingly corrupt. Plenty of good studies have been suppressed or subjected to attempted suppressions by corrupt reviewers. Just this morning I was reading about this example:

        http://www.scidev.net/global/gm/news/mexico-confirms-gm-maize-contamination.html

        Even though the Mexican government, which no one would ever mistake for being anti-GMO, had confirmed the first peer-reviewed Nature-published study, under pressure Nature cravenly and despicably disavowed it. Then when Ezcurra and team submitted their study confirming and expanding upon Chapela’s, Nature intentionally sent it to known corrupt pro-GM “reviewers” who rejected it. The funny thing is the pro-GM activists didn’t get their rationale straight among themselves ahead of time, and so one of them rejected it because the result was simply “impossible”. Now THAT’s “scientific”. Of course Monsanto itself had long adhered to the line that what it dubs with the euphemism “adventitious presence” is inevitable, “natural”, and nothing to worry about. Thus a second reviewer rejected the study because the result was “obvious” and therefore pedestrian. How’s that for suppressing a clear fact – declare that it’s so clear that no one should be allowed to point it out any longer. We see the pro-GM activist version of “science” in action.

        Meanwhile plenty of manifestly fraudulent studies have been passed by corrupt reviewers. We still have the ongoing scandal of how the Seralini study was retracted for purely ideological reasons while Monsanto studies whose methodology is inferior by every measure are allowed to stand.

        We still see the fetish of “peer review” cropping up often among GMO critics, but this is misguided. Peer review can’t be relied upon any more than any other institution of establishment “science”. In this radically corrupted environment we have to take any alleged piece of science on a case-by-case basis, judging according to its methodology and who paid for it. Just to give one example, by definition a legitimate toxicology or cancer study has to proceed for the duration of the full life cycle of the test subjects. Thus by definition only the Seralini study is even a candidate for incarnating legitimate science since it lasted for the full 2-year life cycle of the rat subjects, while Monsanto’s 90-day “subchronic” studies are by definition illegitimate. (90 days is a typical duration for fraudulent industry “studies”.)

        Comment by Russ — March 8, 2015 @ 10:16 am


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