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A Thief Lurks in the Shadows

A Thief Lurks in the Shadows
Wed, 9/5/2012 - by Rudy Avizius

Photo: Natsuki Sakai. Farmers from across Japan attend a rally against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations on October 26, 2011.

Experienced thieves do not want attention focused on their acts, so they employ diversions to misdirect attention. We are currently in the midst of such a diversion while a colossal theft of national resources, dwarfing anything we can imagine, occurs while no one is watching.

The diversion is the spectacle of the conventions of the two major American political parties. The corporate-controlled media presents these conventions as evidence of our democracy when in reality they are nothing more than circuses fully staffed with carnival barkers, clowns and feats of political strength, all designed to impress feeble minds with the pomp and pageantry. These ostentatious events, where the party’s preselected nominee is anointed by adoring crowds, will cost the taxpayers more than $136 million.

Most people watching this mindless drivel on television think that the politicians are the stars of this show. However, it is really the corporations, lobbyists and self-serving special interest groups that are the VIPs here. These are the moneymen who will pay for the extravagant parties and contribute to campaigns because they want something back. They appreciate this diversion from the real theft that will be taking place while the masses focus on the convention.

The real theft that is taking place is in the form of secret negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement. If you have not heard of this so called trade agreement before, that is by design. This agreement has been negotiated in secret for two and a half years and no information has ever been released until this leak.

So why have the details of this negotiation been so secret? This agreement has been framed as a “free trade” agreement, and yet out of 26 chapters only two have anything to do with trade. The other 24 chapters grant new corporate privileges and rights, while limiting governments and protective regulations. The only way this agreement could ever be passed is if the details never see the light of day, or if people continue their sleep as our national sovereignty is dismantled. More than 600 corporate lobbyists have had access to the details in these secret negotiations, and yet access has withheld from Congress and the public.

If implemented, this agreement will hard-code corporate dominance over sovereign governments into international law that will supersede any federal, state, or local laws of any member country. Some of the provisions in this document include the establishment of tribunals outside of any country’s legal system, to be administered by three attorneys with no conflict of interest limitations. This tribunal could order sovereign governments to use taxpayer money to pay these transnational corporations for any environmental or regulatory costs that these corporations expended to meet local standards. Many existing laws would need to be rewritten and no new regulatory laws could be passed. This agreement is more dangerous and has even greater implications than the Citizens United ruling.

The kangaroo courts set up by this TPP agreement will have binding corporate guarantees with both trade and cash sanctions. These cash sanctions would effectively transfer taxpayer money to transnational corporate coffers. Can you imagine the excesses we will see in the financial industry as they challenge regulations within their own private court system forcing governments to pay or eliminate them? The result of these corporate tribunals will be to stage a race to the bottom, where if one country chooses not to regulate something, then this creates a precedent, allowing corporations to sue the other nations of the TPP that do control or regulate and have their taxpayers cover their losses for any such regulations. These other countries would be vulnerable to corporate-led lawsuits to be decided in the corporate tribunals. This is nothing less than a global corporate coup against all sovereign states.

These are just some of the corporate wish list items in this agreement, enforced by the corporate tribunals:

*Offshoring of millions of American jobs through special investor protections *Loosening of financial regulations instituted after the 2008 crash *Significant lengthening of patent protection for big Pharma, resulting in higher drug prices *Corporate attacks on environmental, worker safety, health standards *Limits on food labeling *New versions of SOPA, ACTA and CISPA Internet control legislation

What we have here is a confluence of forces that has the potential to solidify a shift towards total global corporate control and encasing it in international law. Governments will merely be the tools of our corporations and will serve to provide a degree of separation between the corporations and the masses when the inevitable police response will be needed to enforce this agreement.

What Can You Do?

We need to end the secret TPP negotiations. Demonstrating at the conventions, rather than at these negotiations is a misdirection of resources. Attention paid to the convention circuses, with their elephants and jackasses marching in circles to the commands of their corporate ringmasters, diverts attention away from the real crime. Until we bring this process into public view, there is the danger that it will be passed quickly and secretly with little or no congressional or public input. Once the details of these agreements are made public, the TPP will be defeated, or at the very least modified significantly.

We need people to show up at the Leesburg, Virginia negotiations. A large rally that has been endorsed by over two dozen organizations has been planned for this Sunday, September 9. The independent media will be there.

We have reached a crossroads where either we allow the corporations to take control of our nations or we halt their attempts. Take an evening off from the TV and make the effort to make a difference so you can leave your children and grandchildren a better future. Don't expect others to do this for you.

For more information on this rally, please visit: http://www.citizenstrade.org/ctc/.

Educate yourself about the TPP. Your future and that of your children depends on what you do.

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