By Eric Zuesse
20 October, 2015
Europe Secretly Starts Imposing TTIP Despite The Public's Overwhelming Opposition
By Eric Zuesse
20 October, 2015
The terms of Obama's proposed TPP ‘trade' treaty with Asian countries won't be made public until the treaty has already been in force for at least four years. The terms of Obama's proposed TISA (Trade In Services Agreement) with 52 nations won't be made public until the treaty has already been in force for at least five years. Obama's proposed TTIP treaty with European countries has been so successfully hidden, that even the number of years it will be kept from the public isn't yet known. Hello, international fascism — all in secret, until too late for the public to do anything.
But in Europe, things are being rushed, just in case secrecy breaks and the treaty fails to pass. The European Union is already secretly imposing provisions from the secret Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) treaty, even before anyone has signed it, and even before it has been formally approved in any nation. This was revealed over the last weekend in two places:
On the night of October 17th, Phillip Inman of the online version of the Guardian bannered (in an article that the Guardian declined to publish in its printed edition), "Prospect of TTIP already undermining EU food standards, say campaigners,” and he reported that,
Nick Dearden, director of anti-poverty group Global Justice Now, says the EU's chief trade counsellor, Damien Levie, has let slip that free trade means undermining current minimum standards agreed by the EU.
Dearden says that according to a report in the [subscription-only] newsletter Washington Trade Daily, Levie told a conference held by US free market thinktank the Cato Institute [which is owned by America's passionately anti-regulatory billionaire oil-investors, the Koch brothers] that genetically modified crops and chemically washed beef carcasses were being allowed into the EU ahead of a deal.
According to the report, Levie said EU member states “have been stepping up case reviews and approving new genetically modified organisms [GMOs] with five new products approved so far”. …
Levie ... told the Cato Institute conference that neither side wants to reach anything less than a comprehensive economic agreement. He conceded the deal could founder on resistance from the US to include financial services in the deal and Washington's reluctance to open local and state procurement to bids from EU businesses.
Previously, information that was made public by wikileaks had made clear that in the negotiations over the TTIP, the U.S. has been the most aggresssive nation pushing for the ability of international corporations to shape national laws — this being the position that's also favored by the Koch brothers.
On October 18th, Lauren McCauley at Common Dreams headlined “TTIP Already 'Rewriting the Rule Book' for EU Food Standards, New Report Finds,” and stated that a progressive British organization, Global Justice Now, issued a study on October 18th, which noted that:
US officials successfully used the prospect of TTIP to bully the EU into abandoning plans to ban 31 dangerous pesticides with ingredients that have been shown to cause cancer and infertility.
A similar fate befell regulations around the treatment of beef with lactic acid. This was banned in Europe because of fears that the procedure was being used to conceal unhygienic practices. The ban was repealed by MEPs in the European Parliamentary Environment Public Health and Food Safety Committee after EU Commission officials openly suggested TTIP negotiations would be threatened if the ban wasn't lifted.
On climate change, the European Fuel Quality Directive which would effectively ban Canadian tar sands oil [the world's worst oil from a global-warming standpoint] has foundered in the face of strong US-Canadian lobbying around both TTIP and the EU-Canada CETA deal.
As I reported on 2 February 2014:
[The proposed] Keystone XL Pipeline wouldn't contribute to U.S. energy-production, but instead to exports of the global-warming-dirtiest oil, from Canada, to Europe and South America. It would transport Alberta Canada's tar-sands oil — half of which is owned by the Kochs — south to two Koch-owned refineries near the Texas Gulf Coast for transshipment mainly to Europe. President Obama is thus trying to get Europe to relax its anti-global-warming standards to permit their importation of this oil, which is the world's absolute worst oil from the global-warming standpoint.
Furthermore, "Currently, most Canadian tar sands exports are mainly limited to the U.S. Midwest market by a lack of transportation infrastructure." This fact (the lack of "infrastructure" or transportation facilities to move the oil to the international market) keeps down not only the price the Kochs can get for their oil (since it can't currently be sold on the international market); it also greatly lowers the sheer volume of it that they can sell (at any price), because the local Midwest oil market is small. Keystone XL would thus also enormously increase the annual sales-volume of this currently deeply landlocked oil.
Moreover, if this filthy oil isn't sold out fast, it won't ever be sold at all; and here is why, as explained by no less than the Oil & Gas Sector Analyst at the world's largest bank (in terms of assets):
He says, "Between 60 and 80% of current fossil fuel reserves listed on global markets cannot be burned if we are to limit the rise in global temperature to 2 degrees [Celsius, or 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit]," and that's the temperature-rise 97% of climatologists endorse as being the cut-off point that mustn't be exceeded if the climate is to avoid going haywire with soaring heat and destroying the planet's biosphere as humans have always known it.
So: U.S. President Obama has been aggressively pushing for the largely-Koch-owned Canadian tar-sands oil to be allowed into European markets in order for that portion of their — and Exxon's, etc. — oil reserves to be sellable at all, because it otherwise might not be.
The Koch brothers are generally considered to be the biggest fundraisers for the U.S. Republican Party. On 5 January 2012, the Washington Post headlined, "Koch-backed political coalition, designed to shield donors, raised $400 million in 2012” and Matea Gold reported that, "The resources and the breadth of the organization make it singular in American politics,” and that, "Its funders remain largely unknown.” However, one self-admitted member,
Jack Schuler, a Chicago health-care entrepreneur, attended one of the Kochs' donor meetings in Beaver Creek, Colo., several years ago and has contributed about $100,000 a year to their efforts since then. “They came across as guys who are putting a lot of their own money into it,” Schuler said. “They are pretty soft-spoken, not screamers or screechers. They provide the leadership, the staff — without the framework, I wouldn't do it on my own.”
A large portion of that $400 million went to Republican Mitt Romney's campaign against Barack Obama's re-election bid. Obama supports the Kochs financially, though the Kochs preferred the self-declared Republican candidate.
Thus, apparently, the Kochs have already won Obama's success at defeating the EU's fuel-quality standards, even if the TTIP gets turned down. The EU did it without needing to go all the way to put in place and effectuate the TTIP.
NOTE: The headline to this article says “Despite the Public's Overwhelming Opposition,” but the publicly available scientific polling on these secret treaties is also being gamed. Early on, the polls had asked respondents whether they approved of “free trade” or other such vagaries, and the public did. Then the polling just stopped, as if that was that, and Obama's proposed ‘trade' deals are popular. But the massive public demonstrations, etcetera, since then, against these treaties, have become increasingly clear that, to the extent people actually come to know about Obama's proposed ‘trade' treaties (especially in Europe, which isn't quite as corrupt as is the U.S. and so fewer people are totally in the dark), they're strongly opposed, and might even revolt violently if that's the only way to stop the treaty from being approved. News such as you're reading here has been submitted to the news-media in all Western countries, but only few publish it. The major advertisers have participated in the committees that drafted these treaties, and probably wouldn't be pleased if their handiworks were known to the public in time to be blocked from going into effect.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
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