Friday, 17 July 2015

Belgian Cities “Opt Out” of Secret “ObamaTrade” TTIP Regime

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Among other major concerns, leaked documents about the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” (TTIP) pseudo-free trade regime between the Obama administration and the European Union revealed a brazen assault on self-government. As knowledge of the contents of the TTIP scheme is becoming known, opposition to it on both sides of the Atlantic is spreading like wildfire. Some officials in Europe are using the remaining vestiges of self-governance to fight back against the Big Business and Big Government attacks on the rights of their constituents — by trying to “opt out” of the scheme entirely.

Meanwhile, millions of Europeans have signed a petition demanding that the TTIP scheme be quashed. And a growing alliance of forces on the left, right, and center of the political spectrum are working across Europe to derail the secretive deal.   

It is unlikely that the unelected and unaccountable EU super-state officlas will even acknowledge the efforts, much less be swayed by them. But local officials fighting back against the radical "trade" agenda insist that the pushback is important.

Late last month, the Belgian town of St. Gilles passed a resolution “opting out” of the deeply controversial “ObamaTrade” scheme, declaring itself a “zone outside of TTIP.” Dozens of other cities and towns across the small nation have adopted similar measures with similar language purporting to nullify the controversial deal, according to news reports. One councilor quoted by the online EU Observer said an estimated 50 towns had approved such resolutions, and opposition is still growing.

The small town St. Gilles, with about 50,000 residents and located just outside the EU “capital” of Brussels, has long been opposed to the controversial TTIP scheme. So while bigwig EU commissars and Obama officials were busy hiding in the shadows nearby to usurp more sovereignty and hand more power to cronies in Big Business and Big Government, local officials in St. Gilles and across Belgium were working to stop it.

In an official press release sent out on June 25 by the St. Gilles council, the elected councilors announced to the world that they had approved the measure declaring their town to be outside of the TTIP. In interviews with the press, councilors acknowledged that the move was largely symbolic, as only eurocrats now have the power to decide the fate of Europe’s 500 million formerly self-governing people. However, the announcement also outlined some of the town’s major concerns regarding the "trade" scheme, which has drawn fierce opposition from across the political spectrum both in the United States and across Europe.    

“At the City Council of this June 25, the councilors adopted … a motion to declare St. Gilles a ‘zone outside of the TTIP,’ the treaty on transatlantic free trade right now being negotiated between Europe and the United States,” the official announcement declared. “The City Council of St. Gilles has already unanimously expressed deep reservations vis-à-vis this treaty in November of 2014 with another motion.”

The resolution “specifically opposes the dispute-resolution mechanism between investors and the state envisioned in the draft treaty,” the council said in its press release posted online. That deeply controversial “mechanism,” as The New American has reported based on leaked versions of the transatlantic agreement, would purport to allow Big Business cronies to sue and fleece taxpayers in international kangaroo courts beyond public control. It has become a lightning rod for criticism, though it is by no means the only outrage included in the top-secret TTIP.  

“It’s a symbolic motion,” acknowledged St. Gilles City Concillor Alain Maron, a member of the Green party known as Ecolo who pushed the measure, pointing to the growing number of towns passing similar resolutions. “The possible negative impact of the treaty will also impact on a local level... With this kind of treaty, when it is signed, it is too late. The way the negotiations are led oblige people to take a position.”

Through its motion, the St. Gilles City Council demanded that Belgian officials work to suspend the secretive negotiations on the “trade” deal, and that they work within EU institutions to promote that position. The measure also puts the council on record declaring its firm opposition to the globalist kangaroo tribunals with purported powers to extort taxpayers for decisions that Big Business cronies disagree with. The motion takes aim at the transatlantic “regulatory cooperation” schemes, too, which would see Americans and Europeans surrender more authority to unaccountable, EU-style transnational bureaucracies. About 50 percent of global GDP would fall under the proposed transnational regime. The resolution also blasts a similar “trade" scheme between the EU and Canada.   

Finally, echoing growing criticism from around the world, the St. Gilles “opt out” resolution lambastes the assault on national, regional, and local sovereignty. Indeed, as The New American has documented extensively, the TTIP, like its counterpart known as the “Trans Pacific Partnership” (TPP), represents a full-fledged assault on what remains of national sovereignty. From international courts to transnational bureaucracies with purported powers to overrule the people and their elected representatives, critics say the shredding of national sovereignty is among the most troubling elements of the agenda — more properly described as Big Government managed trade. It is also totally secret.  

Of course, for most of the peoples of Europe, national sovereignty has already been surreptitiously stolen, in defiance of citizens’ wishes, by the Brussels-based EU super-state. Despite repeatedly voting against the EU’s usurpations of power, the peoples of Europe have become largely powerless to rein in the legions of “eurocrats” who now rule the continent by decree. Ironically, using similar deception and coercion, the TTIP would, over time, create similar transnational mechanisms to ensnare the people of the United States into “convergence” with the out-of-control EU. One U.S. senator recently bluntly pointed out that the TTIP and TPP would create an EU-style regime over the American people.

In the United States, despite the pushback by citizens, establishment Republicans, who campaigned on a platform of reining in Obama, bent over backward to hand the administration vast new extra-constitutional powers to “fast track” the secret “trade” agreement with the EU.

In Europe, like in the United States, opposition is escalating as more details about the secret scheming emerge through leaks. “In my 17 years as an MEP [Member of the European Parliament] I've never received so much communication from the public on a proposed piece of legislation,” explained MEP Nigel Farage, the British firebrand who leads the fast-growing, EU-opposing, liberty-minded U.K. Independence Party.

“The TTIP has concerned millions of people across the European Union. They have bombarded their MEPs with phone calls, letters and emails and in response to this the EU is now running scared,” MEP Farage said amid “chaos” in the EU’s pseudo-Parliament over the radical scheme. “They've got the wind up, particularly the left, who have been supporting TTIP from the start and finally have been exposed as backing large scale global corporatism.”

Europeans living under the EU Leviathan may have few options to slam the brakes on the globalist TTIP plot, aside from perhaps passing symbolic resolutions that will be ignored by the out-of-control, faceless bureaucracy that usurped power over the continent using deception and lies. Americans, though, still have some national independence, and the ability to sever all entangling alliances going forward. For the sake of liberty, sovereignty, prosperity, and self-government — both in Europe and the United States — the American people, like the town of St. Gilles, must demand that the TTIP and all similar schemes be quashed.

 Photo of St. Gilles: Brussels panorama

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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