Citizen Action Monitor

Obama’s TPP enables corporate investors to terrorize member nations into doing what they’re told

TPP, as well as TTIP and TISA, are “the most criminal treaties in history”

No 1485 Posted by fw, October 21, 2015

Eric Zeusse

Eric Zeusse

“As of 5 October 2015, a super-secret 12-nation treaty called TPP (The Trans-Pacific Partnership) is set to be signed by the 12 nations, and the terms of this massive international contract will be kept secret until the contract has been in force for four years, at which time the contents might (but won’t necessarily) be revealed. This will be a large new international government that has been negotiated for years by international corporations, and which is now to be rubber-stamped by corrupt politicians on their behalf. Whereas those international corporations know the contract’s terms, the people who elected and are ruled by those politicians don’t, and (for four years, at least) they won’t.”Eric Zuesse

Investigative historian, Eric Zuesse, lays out 13 facts we already know about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He also explains why one fact is being kept so hidden from the public that it will not be revealed, if ever, until the agreement has been in force for 4 years. Yikes!

And what is so important that the TPP’s corporate designers so desperately want to keep from you for 4 years? – the agreement’s “maximum requirements”, that’s what. They want complete control. They don’t want member countries to alter the fixed, maximum requirements of the agreement to suit their own local standards.

As George Carlin so famously put it: “They’ll get it all from you sooner or later ‘cause they own this fucking place. It’s a big club. And you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club.”

So, how will our newly minted prime minister Justin Trudeau finesse his way through this trap? Will he realize that Amerika has set out to economically and politically colonize the world – including Canada? Does he really have a choice not to join Obama’s club?

To read Eric’s original essay, click on the following linked title. Alternatively, below is a repost with added, numbered subheadings.

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The Most Criminal Treaty in History is Finally Presented for Signing by Eric Zuesse, Strategic Culture Foundation, October 7, 2015

As of 5 October 2015, a super-secret 12-nation treaty called TPP (The Trans-Pacific Partnership) is set to be signed by the 12 nations, and the terms of this massive international contract will be kept secret until the contract has been in force for four years, at which time the contents might (but won’t necessarily) be revealed. This will be a large new international government that has been negotiated for years by international corporations, and which is now to be rubber-stamped by corrupt politicians on their behalf. Whereas those international corporations know the contract’s terms, the people who elected and are ruled by those politicians don’t, and (for four years, at least) they won’t.

These are the 12 nations: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, Vietnam

Everyone who has seen the agreement (the negotiators for those international corporations, and their politicians) has signed a form promising:

“to treat negotiating texts and other documents exchanged in the course of the negotiations as confidential government information,” and “that these confidentiality requirements shall apply for four years after entry into force of the TPP.”

Why the secrecy? — It’s to keep the public from knowing the requirements of the TPP dispute arbitration process

What do we already know about the TPP arbitration process?

1/ Governments grant corporations the right to sue (Guess who pays if the government loses? – taxpayers)

The reason why the publics in these ‘democratic’ countries will not know until four years have passed under those secret terms, what their government had signed to, is that their government will have signed to allow international corporations to sue their government (those taxpayers themselves) for potentially crippling sums…

2/ Lawsuits will be settled not by a court of law but by a panel of foreign corporate arbitrators (lawyers)

…not in a court of law in a democracy to which the public had elected the judges or had elected the people who had appointed the judges, but instead in a panel of, typically, three ‘arbitrators,’ who will be selected in accord with something called the “ICSID Convention”; and “the ICSID Convention provides that the majority of arbitrators should not be the nationals of the parties having dispute” — in other words: most of the arbitrators will be foreigners; all but one of the arbitrators will be chosen by international corporations; and, even the one arbitrator who isn’t, won’t necessarily be chosen by one’s own country;

3/ No more than one arbitrator can be selected by one’s own country, which may not be represented at all

…but, in any case, no more than one of the arbitrators can possibly be selected by one’s own country. If the non-corporate arbitrator happens to be selected by a foreign country, then one’s own country will not possibly be represented at all in these proceedings, which might set fines that will cripple the sued nation, and that might enormously enrich the suing international corporation.

4/ There is no accountability in determining what fine might be imposed on a sued country

This will not necessarily mean that the fine, if any, will be higher than it ought to be, but simply that there is no democratic accountability in the process of determining what, if any, fine will be imposed upon the sued country.

5/ Panel decisions are final and cannot be appealed

Furthermore, the decisions that are reached in these panels, unlike court decisions which may be appealed to a higher court, cannot be appealed (53.1 in the ICSID Convention).

6/ No sovereign nation can sue an international corporation

Furthermore, in this TPP contract, no nation will possess the right to sue any international corporation — the right to sue is allotted only to international corporations, and they may, in these proceedings, sue only a national government.

7/ The convoluted arbitration process is a “form of international corporate tyranny”

Most of these panels will consist of three arbitrators. The ICSID states (37.2.b): “Where the parties do not agree upon the number of arbitrators and the method of their appointment, the Tribunal shall consist of three arbitrators, one arbitrator appointed by each party and the third, who shall be the president of the Tribunal, appointed by agreement of the parties.” So: two of the panel-members will be private, one will be the sued government, and the third will be some individual whom both of the other two arbitrators believe will be acceptable. That choice of the third person will be crucial, and will introduce an unpredictable element, which likely will determine the outcome. There is no resemblance in this to decisions that are made in a court of law in a democratic country. Each and every case will therefore be more like a coin-toss. However, since corporations cannot be sued in these proceedings, the weight can only be against the signatory nations themselves, which have chosen, through secret and undemocratic process, to submit themselves permanently to this form of international corporate tyranny.

8/ The purpose of these arbitration panels is “to terrorize legislators and regulatory agencies within each member nation” into complying with the secret TPP requirements

The purpose of these arbitration panels isn’t specifically to enrich international corporations at the expense of a sued nation’s taxpayers. (Though it certainly does that.) It’s not mainly a means directly to provide yet another source of income to stockholders. It is instead to terrorize legislators and regulatory agencies within each member nation, to issue only laws and regulations that are NO STRICTER in limiting what the international corporation is allowed to do under the (secret) terms of the TPP than the maximum requirement that is set forth in the TPP agreement.

[To put it another way, TPP’s corporate designers don’t want member countries to alter the fixed, maximum requirements of the agreement to suit their own less or more demanding local standards].

9/ It’s the TPP’s “maximum requirements” that will be kept secret for four years

What those requirements are in the TPP is what will be kept secret for four years. For example: there might be a requirement to place no more than a certain standard for the safety of drugs, chemicals, foods, or other products; so that, if the sued nation issues a stricter safety-standard, than that, then the nation’s taxpayers will have to pay to any suing international corporation, a fine for violating that suing corporation’s ‘rights’ under the TPP agreement, as interpreted by these arbitrators.

10/ Once set, these maximum requirements cannot, under any circumstances, be renegotiated

TPP, in any member-nation that signs it, will, basically, set in stone how strict each given standard can be; and, if subsequent scientific findings concerning that standard turn out to indicate that the standard should have been stricter (for example, that CO2 emissions should be even less than previously thought), then that’s just unfortunate, but modifying the standard will be virtually impossible, because it would require renegotiating the TPP, with all of the participating countries.

11/ The TPP effectively enables corporate investors to terrorize member nations into doing what they’re told

In short: laws and regulations restraining corporations, will be crippled, essentially permanently, within the TPP area, if TPP gets signed. The benefits to stockholders in international corporations will be that TPP will terrorize member-nations not to raise any given safety, labor, or environmental standard, in addition to (of course) the fine awarded, which the taxpayers of the charged country will pay to the given corporation for the alleged transgression of the terms (which, at least for four years, are secret) of the TTP.

Here is how the Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, put this:

Imagine what would have happened if these provisions had been in place when the lethal effects of asbestos were discovered. Rather than shutting down manufacturers and forcing them to compensate those who had been harmed, under ISDS, governments would have had to pay the manufacturers not to kill their citizens. Taxpayers would have been hit twice – first to pay for the health damage caused by asbestos, and then to compensate manufacturers for their lost profits when the government stepped in to regulate a dangerous product.

Increasing a regulation will present that type of Hobson’s choice to any nation that has signed such an agreement. [A Hobson’s choice is a free choice in which only one option is actually offered].

12/ Members from developing countries are far more likely to be exploited that those from developed countries

Furthermore, the vast majority — over 70% — of ICSID appointments of arbitrators, the decisions that likely will control the outcomes in these cases, are appointments that are made by people from “developed” countries; fewer than 30% are by individuals from “developing” ones. (See footnote 23 here.) Consequently, for example, Peruvians are far likelier to be exploited under the TPP than Canadians or Americans are.

13/ TPP’s big winners are the rich and powerful, big losers are the poor and vulnerable

Also, ICSID arbitrators are a more closed, tightly-knit, group of people than are arbitrators in other types of economic disputes such as WTO cases; and, whereas WTO arbitrators tend to come from government, ICSID arbitrators tend to come from the private sector. So: this system works for more concentrated economic power, the benefits of which will go to stockholders in the developed world, and the losses from which will go to consumers, taxpayers, and especially to the residents in underdeveloped countries. (Of course, the higher pollution and the more toxic foods etc. will diminish lives in all of the participating countries.)

Additionally, ICSID arbitrators are paid an average of $200,000 per case, whereas WTO arbitrators get paid only 20% as much if they’re from the private sector, and zero if they’re government officials; so, the profits from arbitrating in the ICSID system are far higher — yet another example of privatizing the benefits.

TPP, as well as TTIP and TISA, are “the most criminal treaties in history”

What will make this treaty — and, if they also get passed, then also Obama’s proposed TTIP treaty with Atlantic nations, and also Obama’s TISA treaty regarding financial and other services — “the most criminal treaties in history,” will be not only the collapse of democratic national sovereignty regarding these regulatory and legal matters, but, also, the huge size of the market-area that’s to be corrupted in this systematic treacherous (profoundly anti-democratic) fashion, which privatizes ‘justice’ in ways that will funnel wealth from the many to the very few.

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