Why is a so-called “free trade agreement” being negotiated in secret; even from the Senate oversight committee?
The trade agreement in question is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, in which the United States is negotiating with the following countries: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, Mexico, Peru, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, and possibly South Korea. The MB50’s Blog has been covering this story. They reported a year ago:
An international treaty being negotiated in secret which would not only crack down on Internet privacy much more than SOPA or ACTA, but would actually destroy the sovereignty of the U.S. and all other signatories.
It is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Wyden is the chairman of the trade committee in the Senate … the committee which is supposed to have jurisdiction overthe TPP. Wyden is also on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and so he and his staff have high security clearances and are normally able to look at classified documents.
And yet Wyden and his staff have been denied access to the TPP’s text.
And now MB50 reports on what Congressman Allan Grayson had to say a few days ago:
Last month, 10,000 of us submitted comments to the United States Trade Representative (USTR), in which we objected to new so-called free trade agreements. We asked that the government not sell out our democracy to corporate interests.
Because of this pressure, the USTR finally let a member of Congress – little ole me, Alan Grayson [anyone who's seen Grayson in action knows that he is formidable] – actually see the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a large, secret trade agreement that is being negotiated with many countries in East Asia and South America.
The TPP is nicknamed “NAFTA on steroids.” Now that I’ve read it, I can see why. I can’t tell you what’s in the agreement, because the U.S. Trade Representative calls it classified. But I can tell you two things about it.
1) There is no national security purpose in keeping this text secret.
2) This agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.
3) What they can’t afford to tell the American public is that [the rest of this sentence is classified].
And Grayson also noted:
It is ironic in a way that the government thinks it’s alright to have a record of every single call that an American makes, but not alright for an American citizen to know what sovereign powers the government is negotiating away.
Having seen what I’ve seen, I would characterize this as a gross abrogation of American sovereignty. And I would further characterize it as a punch in the face to the middle class of America. I think that’s fair to say from what I’ve seen so far. But I’m not allowed to tell you why!
So, Obama’s most transparent government ever hides everything from Benghazi to NSA snooping to free trade agreements behind the shield of “national security”. This is an issue that both progressives and conservatives should be outraged about and demand that our government come clean. The author of MB50 reminds us that Mussolini would define fascism as “merger of state and corporate power”. Until and unless the boiling frogs on both sides of the political spectrum realize they are being cooked, nothing will change.
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?