Beneath the Iceberg…….

democracy, democratic rights, European Commission, European Commission; trade agreements; environmental impact; employment rights; democracy

A while back I reported on what we, the ordinary people of Europe, are allowed to see what is being discussed in secret by the politicians in Brussels and the USA on our behalf. I reported that much of what is in the preamble is largely in the favour of corporate bodies and it was reported that the US accepted without any quibble the proposals put forward by Brussels. I was surprised by this as it was unexpected and certainly unheard of.   Usually there is a going backwards and forwards between interested parties before coming to an acceptable agreement to both sides which is then drawn up and signed by the principle heads of government.

It was premature to suppose it would be accepted in the form given and rightly so. This last week the USA Democrats blocked Barak Obama’s decision to fast-track through not only TTIP but also equivalent agreements between Asian countries and the USA (TPP, Trans Pacific Partnership). However on 23rd May 2015 the Senate have given Obama free reign to push forward with these trade agreements.

Why this is the case is an interesting point in question.   It seems the American government’s notion of democracy extends to keeping its citizens in the dark where legislation is concerned so that although there is bill of rights, those rights do not extend to examine legislation made by the government as they are considered classified documents.   This is completely at odds in Europe where citizens are allowed to examine legislation, debate it among themselves and also to make recommendations to legislators.   In other words the electorate are, by and large, trusted to make sensible decisions.

However, TTIP is a very different animal indeed. We have been allowed to see the preamble, or introduction, to this new treaty but only a very few people are actually involved in the negotiations and only a few thousand European officials have had sufficient clearance to view these documents in their entirety.   Quite rightly those many millions of voters who are left in the dark are worried and suspicious on both sides of the Atlantic, that it will mean massive changes in how life is led on a daily basis. This mood of fear serves politicians’ purpose very well, after all a divided society is more easily malleable than one where its citizens are content with their lot.   Therefore we can only look at what scant facts are available from the preamble and work from there.

  1. Large swathes of the preamble allow corporations to acquire 49% of land and buildings in each of the EU countries.
  2. Juridical people will have the ability and opportunity to “adopt or maintain” local practices, businesses, employment laws and so on. However the UK government is keen to repeal any employment laws and practices that come from Brussels in the upcoming negotiations with Brussels which mean UK citizens will not be afforded the same rights as those on the Continent. It is my understanding there are few employment laws afforded to the average US citizen. Those US citizens working for firms alongside EU counterparts may find themselves aggrieved when they are not given the same rights. Remember, a Juridical Person is not a human being (normal person in legal jargon); it is a corporate entity, usually a third party, shell or hidden company through which the main company uses as a front to shield its identity.
  3. The total expected investment and benefit in trade to the EU amounts to 0.5% as a whole. 0.5% when split between 27 countries amounts to pennies, cents. Even as a percentage per each country it is a very small amount of money coming into the country by way of this treaty. When you consider the debt owed by Greece was €163 billion at 171.3% GDP in 2012 you get a sense of what this actually means. Therefore this so-called trade agreement has nothing whatsoever to do with trade.
  4. Corporations will have more rights over citizens than citizens will be able to hold corporations to account when things go wrong.

 

You have to ask who benefits from this agreement? Who stands to gain? It certainly isn’t the average citizens of the USA or Europe. Certainly the politicians from both sides will benefit in some way, but then many would sell their grandmothers bones for pennies if they thought it would get them somewhere.

Corporations stand to gain a great deal. These agreements are no less than the complete pillage of EU countries in the case of TTIP and Asian countries where TTP will have effect, where so much can be taken over by corporations and they can sue governments of those countries for loss of future profit. These will undermine the laws of each individual and collective country, in the case of the EU.

While there is the ability for various interests to lobby those in government, what is disturbing is that US companies are already lobbying Brussels to drop lists of 31 pesticides containing dangerous endocrine disrupting chemicals.   These EDCs are known to cause loss of IQ, obesity and cryptorchidism – a condition affecting the genitals of baby boys.   There has also been a steady rise in the past 30-40 years in hormone receptor cancers such as breast, ovarian, endometrial, prostate, testicular and thyroid globally related to Endocrine Disrupting chemicals in CHEMTrust report in 2012.

The American Chambers of Commerce (AmCham) have extensively lobbied the EU about “the uselessness of creating categories and thus lists.” But would prefer the EU “making a joint simple impact assessment to cover all proposals”.   While American commerce may not give a fig for the wellbeing of its citizens, the EU does and should according to its own criteria in legislation.   If TTIP is not resisted to its greatest extent by all citizens across the world where these agreements are being proposed, we will walk into a nightmare the likes of which are unimaginable in our comfortable lives today, where there is no recourse to justice, no assistance, where compassion and empathy for fellow human beings are seen as weaknesses rather than strengths that bind us as a species. This is the nightmare that awaits us, where there are no happy endings. Your fate and that of your families lie in your hands alone.

The UK government is being sued by British American Tobacco for not allowing cigarettes to be displayed openly in shop, supermarkets and other public areas which will result in a loss of profit for this company.   Given that many smokers have or are now in the process of giving up smoking and taking up vaping instead which is much safer it is only a matter of time where people will no longer smoke tobacco.   This is only the start.

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