Friday, 06 February 2015

Trading Away Their Oaths

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On the opening day of each new Congress, every member of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives takes an oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” For many members, no doubt, this solemn act is merely a perfunctory ceremony, but it is a morally and legally binding act, nevertheless, and one that should not be taken lightly. And each member will soon be severely tested regarding that sworn duty.

Will it be possible, for instance, for representatives and senators to honor their oaths to “support and defend” the Constitution and “bear true faith and allegiance” to it, and at the same time to vote for so-called trade agreements that surrender American sovereignty to international tribunals that would be empowered to override that same Constitution — not to mention our state constitutions and national, state, and local laws? To vote for agreements that establish new institutions of supranational governance with evolving powers — legislative, executive, and judicial — that subvert and supplant the Constitution? To vote for these same agreements that have been crafted in secrecy by the Obama administration and select corporate interests — with Congress completely excluded — in violation of the Constitution’s mandate for Congress, not the president, “to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations”?

We are not conjuring up mere theoretical threats here. Previously enacted “trade agreements” have already delivered rulings by NAFTA and World Trade Organ­ization (WTO) tribunals that have overruled U.S. laws and U.S. federal and state court rulings. Georgetown University law professor John D. Echeverria has characterized this development as “the biggest threat to United States judicial independence that no one has heard of and even fewer people understand,” while Hofstra University law professor Peter Spiro says it “points to a fundamental reorientation of our constitutional system.”

This writer would go further and posit that it points, manifestly, to the abolition of our constitutional system. Leaked documents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the latest agreements that may soon come before Congress, reveal, for example, they would exempt foreign corporations from our laws and regulations, placing the resolution of any disputes over these matters in the hands of an international tribunal. In addition to the threat to our constitutional system, this represents a deadly blow aimed at the vast majority of domestic business enterprises that do not engage in foreign commerce. They would be left at a distinct disadvantage, remaining shackled with oppressive regulations and taxes that their foreign competitors could evade.

But the dangers we have outlined above do not emanate only — or principally — from the TPP and TTIP documents themselves. Even more alarming than the various threats that have been exposed thus far in these agreements is the fact that many of the congressional leaders who are shepherding the TPP and TTIP through Congress are members of an organization that is committed to merging the United States — politically and economically — with the European Union (see the complete list of congressmen at the end of this article), as well as with a similar arrangement in the Asia-Pacific region. We are referring to the Transatlantic Policy Network (TPN), which has been the behind-the-scenes driver of the transatlantic union effort for more than two decades, and which makes its intent very clear in its own writings, as we shall show. Should this goal of transatlantic union be fully realized, it would effectively mean the abolition of the United States as a free and independent nation.

Network of Networks

The TPN boasts of being the “network of networks” among elite political, business, and academic globalists pushing for transatlantic political and economic “integration” and “convergence” of the United States and the EU. The TPN website notes that from the group’s inception in 1994 it has “argued that a deeper transatlantic relationship must link political, economic and security interests, otherwise it would ultimately fail.” TPN’s “mission,” according to its website, is “to promote and assist the convergence of EU/US Government policies.” The TPN’s 1995 “Partnership Project” called for combining NATO with a merged EU-U.S. “in a single political framework by early in the next century.” In its 2008 report, Completing the Transatlantic Market, the TPN put a finer point on the matter, revealing that “the process of creating a Transatlantic Market will be an integral step in the evolution toward an eventual Transatlantic Partnership Agreement embracing the economic, political, and strategic totality of the EU-US relationship.” (Emphasis added.) “Totality” — that’s, well, total. The significance of this claim has not been lost on the TPN’s fellow globalists. World Bank economist Dominic Ruiz Devesa, for instance, writing in Freedom & Union, the journal of the TPN-allied Streit Council, acknowledged that this objective followed the plan of Jean Monnet, the socialist “father” of the EU, for total “integration,” not merely economic and trade cooperation.

“Thus transatlantic economic integration, though important in itself, is not the end,” noted Dr. Devesa. “As understood by Jean Monnet, economic integration must and will lead to political integration, since an integrated market requires common institutions producing common rules to govern it.” Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, and the other EU architects and their American counterparts knew that they could not hope to foist this scheme on the peoples of Europe if they laid this plan out openly and honestly. As Monnet’s admiring biographers Serge and Merry Bromberger wrote, when Monnet’s coterie of fellow internationalists saw his plan for “the project” that would evolve into the EU, they recognized that an “idea of revolutionary daring” was being born.

“Gradually, it was thought, the supranational authorities, supervised by the European Council of Ministers at Brussels and the Assembly in Strasbourg, would administer all the activities of the Continent,” wrote the Brombergers. “A day would come when governments would be forced to admit that an integrated Europe was an accomplished fact, without their having had a say in the establishment of its underlying principles. All they would have to do was to merge all these autonomous institutions into a single federal administration and then proclaim a United States of Europe.”

The EU architects, noted the Brombergers, “would have to obtain from the various national governments … a whole series of concessions in regard to their sovereign rights until, having been finally stripped, they committed hara-kiri by accepting the merger.”

This national “hara-kiri” — suicide by disembowelment — is an apropos description of the total “integration” scheme that is now being completed in the EU, and which the TTIP/TPP architects now intend to foist on the United States. Their phenomenal success thus far is due to their prowess at lying and deceiving, and their infiltration and gradual control over political, financial, academic, and media institutions.

One of the many audacious admissions along these lines is provided by Arnold J. Toynbee, the famous historian of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (otherwise known as Chatham House). “I will merely repeat that we are at present working, discreetly, but with all our might, to wrest this mysterious political force called sovereignty out of the clutches of the local national states of our world,” he wrote in the Chatham House journal International Affairs, in 1931. “And,” he continued, “all the time we are denying with our lips what we are doing with our hands.”

Chatham House is one of the TPN’s “Cooperating Institutions,” a veritable A-list of globalist organizations that have been leading the push toward world government for much of the past century: Council on Foreign Relations, Aspen Institute, Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Atlantic Council of the United States, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, European-American Business Council — and many more.

For much of its existence, the TPN has been led by top one-worlder Peter Sutherland: TPN founding president and currently TPN EU honorary president, chairman of Goldman Sachs International and British Petroleum, the first director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), steering committee member of the Bilderberg Group, currently honorary chairman of the Trilateral Commission, and formerly European chairman of the Trilateral Commission.

“TTIP is the culmination of a long journey that began in the 1990s, with many starts and stops along the way,” says the TPN, in its 2013 report The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Completing the Strategic Vision. “TPN seminars for policy makers and business leaders,” it notes, “have been instrumental in the creation of the New Transatlantic Agenda, the Transatlantic Business Dialogue, the Transatlantic Economic Partnership and the Transatlantic Economic Council, all precursors of the TTIP. TPN annual reports have raised ambitions and framed the debate over the future of the transatlantic economic and strategic partnership.” In truth, the TPN program, as detailed in its reports and seminars, has been more than “instrumental”; it is no exaggeration to say that the TPN merger agenda has been transferred virtually word-for-word, point-by-point, into official policy by U.S. and EU presidents, prime ministers, and legislators. The New American has previously exposed the TPN, but the vast majority of Americans have never heard of the organization and have not the slightest inkling that it poses an imminent threat to our nation. But with the TTIP and TPP about to be acted on in Congress, it is vital that every American be alerted to the fact that some of our top elected officials in Congress are also leading lights in the TPN.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Deputy Whip Kevin Brady (R-Texas) are TPN members, as are fellow House Republicans John Mica of Florida, Darrell Issa of California, and Kenny Marchant of Texas. TPN members among the House Democrats include Jim Costa and Susan Davis of California, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, and Sander Levin of Michigan. The Senate’s five TPN members include four Republicans: Thad Coch­ran, Mississippi; Mark Kirk, Illinois; Pat Roberts, Kansas; and Roger Wicker, Mississippi. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland is currently the sole Senate Democrat member of the TPN.

In its 1998 report Toward Transatlantic Partnership, the TPN makes this boast: “The TPN Congressional Group has 35 Members of the United States Senate and Congress committed to the objectives of TPN.” Of concern here is what it means for these members of Congress to be “committed to the objectives of TPN.” Can they be committed to those “objectives” and their oath to the Constitution at the same time? Anyone taking the time to study the TPN’s reports, studies, articles, and seminars would have to answer in the negative.

Oath Breakers

The TPN’s substantial influence derives from the coordinated actions of its members and associates in politics, business, finance, academe, and think tanks. Its elite corporate membership includes such too-big-to-fail “bailout kings” as JPMorgan, Citibank, and HSBC, as well as the usual lineup of “crony capitalist” multinationals that feed at the public trough and benefit from government interventionism and taxpayer largess through “public-private partnerships”: Caterpillar, Time-Warner, Boeing, Microsoft, Oracle, Pfizer, Disney, Hewlett Packard, Coca-Cola, GE, IBM, Eli Lilly, Amgen, BASF — to name a few.

The TPN’s affiliation and cooperation with the Streit Council provides further confirmation of the regional and even global governance envisioned by TPN. Named for Clarence Streit (1896-1986), the former New York Times writer who was an ardent campaigner for EU-style global government, the council continues to promote the agenda laid out in his best-selling book, Union Now (1939), and Freedom’s Frontier: Atlantic Union Now (1961). Many TPN members, including members of Congress, regularly write for the Streit Council’s Freedom & Union journal and speak at its conferences. Representative Jim Costa (D-Calif.), for instance, authored an article for the same issue cited above with Dr. Devesa’s essay, in which he (Costa) notes that the TPN members “Agree to a target date of 2015 to complete the transatlantic market between the United States and Europe.” That was eight years ago, and here we are, 2015, and — mirabile dictu — TTIP is right on schedule!

Again, it must be asked: Can members of Congress be true to their oaths and the TPN’s objectives? The TPN calls for political, economic, military, and security “integration” between the European Union and the United States. It calls for the “existing inter-parliamentary exchange” between members of the European Parliament and the U.S. Congress to be “transformed into a de facto ‘Transatlantic Assembly,’” which, presumably, would gradually usurp control over American national, state, and local lawmaking in the same manner that the EU Parliament (along with the EU executive and judicial structures) has seized control in Europe.

In 2007, President Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (who was then serving as president of the European Council), and then-European Commission President José Manuel Barroso set up the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC), precisely as recommended by the TPN (and as envisioned by Clarence Streit). Following the methods advocated by Monnet and practiced in the EU, Bush, Merkel, and Barroso created this official body that is carrying out far-reaching subversion of our national sovereignty, without any constitutional amendment and without any legislation from Congress — indeed, with barely a peep from Congress, other than the praises sung by the TPN choir.

The TPN members of the U.S. Congress and their fellow TTIP/TPP promoters in the House and Senate are, in fact, acting as agents of the TPN and the globalist think tanks and corporations behind it, to cause the United States government — a la the Monnet Plan — to commit hara-kiri.

ObamaTrade’s Handmaidens

In his State of the Union address on January 20, 2015, President Obama heralded American exporters as the key to job creation and declared “new trade partnerships with Europe and the Asia-Pacific will help them create more jobs.” “We need to work together,” the president said, “on tools like bipartisan trade promotion authority [TPA] to protect our workers, protect our environment, and open new markets to new goods stamped ‘Made in the USA.’”

Republican lawmakers applauded this renewed White House push for the TTIP and TPP.

However, these agreements are stirring widespread, fierce opposition as more and more Americans (as well as citizens in Europe and the Asia-Pacific nations) are becoming aware that these “partnerships” are about far, far more than trade and tariffs. After all, our tariffs are already at an all-time low — an issue itself that is worthy of vigorous debate. However, from what is already known from the administration’s own statements and publicity releases, as well as from official texts that have been leaked, the TPP and TTIP deal with a multitude of issues — from alternative energy, global warming, sustainable development, and immigration, to homeland security, global military intervention, copyright enforcement, Internet control/censorship — and much more.

The website of the U.S. trade representative lists the following as some of the areas that are being negotiated in the secret TTIP conferences: “Agricultural Market Access, Competition, Cross-Border Services, Customs and Trade Facilitation, Electronic Commerce and Telecommunications, Energy and Raw Materials, Environment Financial Services, Government Procurement, Intellectual Property Rights, Investment, Labor, ... Rules of Origin, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures, Sectoral Annexes/Regulatory Cooperation, Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises, State-Owned Enterprises, Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Textiles, Trade Remedies.”

As EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom stated — in what was probably an accidental act of candor — the TTIP “is not just another trade negotiation.” That much is strikingly obvious. The same is true for the TPP.

At present, the TPP consists of the United States, Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, and Brunei Darussalam. Communist China has signaled that it may want to join, and U.S. officials say they’re fine with that. Russia is also a TPP candidate. Ultimately, say the TPP proponents, the “partnership” will be “widened” — in the same way that the EU has been — to take on more members, until it culminates in a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) that includes virtually all of the Pacific Rim nations. In tandem with the “widening” process is the “deepening” process, by which the regional executive bureaucracy, legislative body, and judicial tribunals steadily assert ever more authority over virtually every sphere of human activity.

One of the earliest authors of the TTIP effort was the late Warren Christopher, who served as secretary of state to President Clinton and was a foreign policy advisor to President Obama. In a 1995 speech in Madrid, Spain, entitled “Charting a Transatlantic Agenda for the 21st Century,” Secretary Christopher declared: “The long term objective is the integration of the economies of North America and Europe, consistent with the principles of the WTO [World Trade Organization].” This, said he, “will align our efforts to promote transatlantic integration with the forces of integration around the world.”

Secretary Christopher, who was a director and vice chairman of the TPN-allied Council on Foreign Relations, a director of the Trilateral Commission, and a participant in the Bilderberg Group, specifically commended the EU process of “progressively closer integration, both economic and political” as the model to follow.

Global Rules, Global Rulers

We have some idea of where integration “consistent with the principles of the WTO” is taking us, from recent rulings of that global body. Only a few months ago, on October 20, 2014, the WTO ruled — for the second time — that the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law is illegal, even though a U.S. federal court had upheld the law. COOL, which requires imported foreign meat to carry a label naming the country of origin, was challenged as discriminatory by meat exporters from our NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada. Let us be clear: The COOL law does not prohibit or restrict any product; it merely says American consumers have a right to know where meat is coming from, so they can make an informed decision on whether or not to buy it. Sound reasonable? The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit thought so. The U.S. court ruled against Canada and Mexico and concluded that COOL complies with the U.S. Constitution and that Congress had authority to enact the law.

But the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. courts don’t mean anything to the WTO — thank you, Secretary Christopher — which ruled against COOL and the right of Americans to know if the food they’re eating was produced in a foreign country. As a side note, more than one legal analyst has noted that one of the “judges” on the WTO’s three-member panel that decided the case in favor of Canada and Mexico was a Mexican national, a blatant conflict of interest
that violates the basic canons of ­jurisprudence.

Along the same lines, Vietnam has threatened to sue the United States in the WTO if the United States imposes proposed more-stringent inspection standards on Vietnamese-raised catfish, which have been notorious for being farmed under heavily toxic conditions.

The WTO’s little sister, NAFTA, has, likewise, been flexing its judicial muscles. When NAFTA was being promoted as the panacea for our trade and unemployment ills, The New American warned that among the many dangers posed by the pact would be the creation of NAFTA tribunals (in Chapter 11 of the agreement) that would wreak judicial havoc. It took a few years for the tribunals to be established and lawsuits to be filed, but when the reckoning finally started, the NAFTA promoters feigned total surprise that such a dastardly outcome could possibly happen. When the highest court in Massachusetts ruled against a Canadian real estate company’s claim, the company appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear its appeal. Case closed, right? Not so; the company took their case to a NAFTA court, which, in 2004, ruled in favor of the Canadians, overruling the highest courts of the State of Massachusetts and the United States.

John Kerry, who was then a U.S. senator for Massachusetts, attempted to absolve himself from any culpability (he had voted for NAFTA) by claiming ignorance. “When we debated NAFTA,” Kerry insisted, “not a single word was uttered in discussing Chapter 11. Why? Because we didn’t know how this provision would play out. No one really knew just how high the stakes would get.”

“We didn’t know”? That’s the defense? But it was Senator Kerry’s duty — and the duty of every member of Congress — to know what was in the agreement before casting a vote for it. And it just might have been debated thoroughly if Senator Kerry and his colleagues had not rushed NAFTA through on “fast track” authority for President Clinton. Now as secretary of state, Kerry is one of the point men trying to fast-track the TPP/TTIP free trade agenda through for President Obama. And these are much bigger agreements involving many more countries than the three-member NAFTA. We know they will offer even more potential for subversive attacks on every aspect of our political and economic systems.

Baked-in Subversion

We know this because subversion is baked into the recipe. How do we know this? The chefs tell us so. One example: On February 12, 2013, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) held a panel discussion at Princeton University entitled “The G20: Prospects and Challenges for Global Governance,” which was videotaped and is available for viewing on the organization’s cfr.org website. The four panelists were dismayed that the G20 (the Group of 20 international forum of major economies) is so “ineffective,” lacking genuine “governance” powers. Among the notable comments was this approving remark from CFR member Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group: “The EU is much more significant. There’s real subversion of sovereignty by the EU that works.”

It was apparent that the panelists all favored this type of EU-style, sovereignty-subverting “governance.” The Council on Foreign Relations, as this magazine has been documenting for decades, was the brain trust that guided and directed the formation of the European Common Market, and helped it along each sovereignty-subverting step toward its present incarnation as the European Union.

In an essay for the November/December 2014 issue of the CFR’s journal Foreign Affairs, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman hymned the praises of the TTIP and TPP, and called on Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority (“fast track”) so that ObamaTrade could start performing its promised economic wonders. Froman’s piece, “The Strategic Logic of Trade: New Rules of the Road for the Global Market,” audaciously claims that “the Obama administration has worked to make its trade agenda the most transparent in U.S. history.”

“These efforts,” Froman goes on to say, “have given unprecedented weight to public input and congressional oversight.” Incredible — even for an administration as infamously brazen for secrecy, cover-up, stonewalling, and lying as the current one. What “transparency” and “congressional oversight” is Froman talking about? It’s not merely “rightwing extremists” and zany “Tea Partiers” who are challenging Team Obama on these transparency claims; some of the harshest criticism on this score is coming from “progressives” of his own party: Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (who caucuses with Democrats), Florida Representative Alan Grayson, Connecticut Representative Rosa DeLauro, California Representative George Miller, New York Representative Nydia Velasquez, California Representative Maxine Waters — and many others. As we report in more detail in our article “How to Pass Disastrous Trade Agreements,” elected members of Congress have been protesting and complaining to the administration for two years that they are being shut out of the negotiations and denied access to the TPP/TTIP documents, while special “cleared” representatives of, for example, the Halliburton Corporation, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and the Motion Picture Association of America are given passwords to access the documents online at their leisure. In 2012, more than 30 law professors signed a letter denouncing the secrecy and calling for genuine “public transparency, accountability and input.” In December of 2014, the Electronic Freedom Foundation and dozens of organizations from the TPP countries signed a letter to the TPP negotiating ministers calling for the release of the texts of the TPP agreement, which, Froman’s transparency assertions notwithstanding, still has not been publicly released.

Why the secrecy? What’s there to hide? Plenty, as it turns out. Leaked copies of the TPP chapter on intellectual property rights this past year, for instance, touched off global protests as it became known that the TPP text would turn alleged copyright infringement into a powerful weapon for private parties and governments to censor distribution of information over the Internet.

“This leaked text also revealed new terms on the misuse of trade secrets,” notes the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “These are dangerously vague and could be used to enact harsh criminal punishments against anyone who reveals or even accesses information through an allegedly confidential ‘computer system.’ This language could have alarming consequences if it obligates nations to enact new laws that could be used to crack down on journalists and whistleblowers. It’s no wonder TPP negotiations continued to be as secretive as ever this year — policymakers are taking advantage of back-room policymaking to criminalize the very people who help public interest groups like EFF understand what’s contained in these agreements.”

The TTIP and TPP represent all-out, full-scale assaults on — and an existential threat to — our national sovereignty, our national independence, our constitutional form of limited government, and our individual rights and freedoms. Congress must reject both the TPP and TTIP. And members of Congress who are members of the subversive TPN must be confronted and publicly exposed. And, to make sure that these dangerous schemes cannot be rushed through Congress on the fast track, a sufficient number of Americans must convince Congress to reject Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).

*     *     *

Is Your Congressman a Member of the TPN Congressional Group?

A list of the U.S. senators and representatives who belong to the Transatlantic Policy Network Congressional Group, as currently listed on the TPN website, follows. (Note: TPN House member Eric Cantor was defeated in the 2014 Republican primary. John Dingell, Doc Hastings, Mike McIntyre, James Moran, and Allyson Schwartz retired in January 2015.)

Senators

Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)
Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)
Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)
Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)
Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)

Representatives

Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)
John Boehner (R-Ohio)
Kevin Brady (R-Texas)
Eric Cantor (R-Va.)
Michael Conaway (R-Texas)
Jim Costa (D-Calif.)
Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.)
Susan Davis (D-Calif.)
John Dingell (D-Mich.)
Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.)
Sam Farr (D-Calif.)
Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)
Doc Hastings (R-Wash.)
Steve Israel (D-N.Y.)
Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)
Ron Kind (D-Wis.)
Sander Levin (D-Mich.)
Kenny Marchant (R-Texas)
Jim McDermott (D-Wash.)
Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.)
John Mica (R-Fla.)
Candice Miller (R-Mich.)
James Moran (D-Va.)
Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.)
Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.)
Collin Peterson (D-Minn.)
Dennis Ross (R-Fla.)
Ed Royce (R-Calif.)
Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.)
F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.)
Fred Upton (R-Mich.)
Greg Walden (R-Ore.)
Joe Wilson (R-S.C.)

 

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How to Pass Disastrous Trade Agreements

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