Trading Away Their Oaths

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On the open­ing day of each new Con­gress, every mem­ber of the U.S. Sen­ate and House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives takes an oath of office to “sup­port and defend the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States against all ene­mies, for­eign and domes­tic” and “bear true faith and alle­giance to the same.” For many mem­bers, no doubt, this solemn act is mere­ly a per­func­to­ry cer­e­mo­ny, but it is a moral­ly and legal­ly bind­ing act, nev­er­the­less, and one that should not be tak­en light­ly. And each mem­ber will soon be severe­ly test­ed regard­ing that sworn duty.

Will it be pos­si­ble, for instance, for rep­re­sen­ta­tives and sen­a­tors to hon­or their oaths to “sup­port and defend” the Con­sti­tu­tion and “bear true faith and alle­giance” to it, and at the same time to vote for so-called trade agree­ments that sur­ren­der Amer­i­can sov­er­eign­ty to inter­na­tion­al tri­bunals that would be empow­ered to over­ride that same Con­sti­tu­tion — not to men­tion our state con­sti­tu­tions and nation­al, state, and local laws? To vote for agree­ments that estab­lish new insti­tu­tions of supra­na­tion­al gov­er­nance with evolv­ing pow­ers — leg­isla­tive, exec­u­tive, and judi­cial — that sub­vert and sup­plant the Con­sti­tu­tion? To vote for these same agree­ments that have been craft­ed in secre­cy by the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion and select cor­po­rate inter­ests — with Con­gress com­plete­ly exclud­ed — in vio­la­tion of the Constitution’s man­date for Con­gress, not the pres­i­dent, “to reg­u­late Com­merce with for­eign Nations”?

We are not con­jur­ing up mere the­o­ret­i­cal threats here. Pre­vi­ous­ly enact­ed “trade agree­ments” have already deliv­ered rul­ings by NAFTA and World Trade Organ­ization (WTO) tri­bunals that have over­ruled U.S. laws and U.S. fed­er­al and state court rul­ings. George­town Uni­ver­si­ty law pro­fes­sor John D. Echev­er­ria has char­ac­ter­ized this devel­op­ment as “the biggest threat to Unit­ed States judi­cial inde­pen­dence that no one has heard of and even few­er peo­ple under­stand,” while Hof­s­tra Uni­ver­si­ty law pro­fes­sor Peter Spiro says it “points to a fun­da­men­tal reori­en­ta­tion of our con­sti­tu­tion­al system.”

This writer would go fur­ther and posit that it points, man­i­fest­ly, to the abo­li­tion of our con­sti­tu­tion­al sys­tem. Leaked doc­u­ments of the Trans-Pacif­ic Part­ner­ship (TPP) and the Transat­lantic Trade and Invest­ment Part­ner­ship (TTIP), the lat­est agree­ments that may soon come before Con­gress, reveal, for exam­ple, they would exempt for­eign cor­po­ra­tions from our laws and reg­u­la­tions, plac­ing the res­o­lu­tion of any dis­putes over these mat­ters in the hands of an inter­na­tion­al tri­bunal. In addi­tion to the threat to our con­sti­tu­tion­al sys­tem, this rep­re­sents a dead­ly blow aimed at the vast major­i­ty of domes­tic busi­ness enter­pris­es that do not engage in for­eign com­merce. They would be left at a dis­tinct dis­ad­van­tage, remain­ing shack­led with oppres­sive reg­u­la­tions and tax­es that their for­eign com­peti­tors could evade.

But the dan­gers we have out­lined above do not emanate only — or prin­ci­pal­ly — from the TPP and TTIP doc­u­ments them­selves. Even more alarm­ing than the var­i­ous threats that have been exposed thus far in these agree­ments is the fact that many of the con­gres­sion­al lead­ers who are shep­herd­ing the TPP and TTIP through Con­gress are mem­bers of an orga­ni­za­tion that is com­mit­ted to merg­ing the Unit­ed States — polit­i­cal­ly and eco­nom­i­cal­ly — with the Euro­pean Union (see the com­plete list of con­gress­men at the end of this arti­cle), as well as with a sim­i­lar arrange­ment in the Asia-Pacif­ic region. We are refer­ring to the Transat­lantic Pol­i­cy Net­work (TPN), which has been the behind-the-scenes dri­ver of the transat­lantic union effort for more than two decades, and which makes its intent very clear in its own writ­ings, as we shall show. Should this goal of transat­lantic union be ful­ly real­ized, it would effec­tive­ly mean the abo­li­tion of the Unit­ed States as a free and inde­pen­dent nation.

Net­work of Networks

The TPN boasts of being the “net­work of net­works” among elite polit­i­cal, busi­ness, and aca­d­e­m­ic glob­al­ists push­ing for transat­lantic polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic “inte­gra­tion” and “con­ver­gence” of the Unit­ed States and the EU. The TPN web­site notes that from the group’s incep­tion in 1994 it has “argued that a deep­er transat­lantic rela­tion­ship must link polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic and secu­ri­ty inter­ests, oth­er­wise it would ulti­mate­ly fail.” TPN’s “mis­sion,” accord­ing to its web­site, is “to pro­mote and assist the con­ver­gence of EU/US Gov­ern­ment poli­cies.” The TPN’s 1995 “Part­ner­ship Project” called for com­bin­ing NATO with a merged EU‑U.S. “in a sin­gle polit­i­cal frame­work by ear­ly in the next cen­tu­ry.” In its 2008 report, Com­plet­ing the Transat­lantic Mar­ket, the TPN put a fin­er point on the mat­ter, reveal­ing that “the process of cre­at­ing a Transat­lantic Mar­ket will be an inte­gral step in the evo­lu­tion toward an even­tu­al Transat­lantic Part­ner­ship Agree­ment embrac­ing the eco­nom­ic, polit­i­cal, and strate­gic total­i­ty of the EU-US rela­tion­ship.” (Empha­sis added.) “Total­i­ty” — that’s, well, total. The sig­nif­i­cance of this claim has not been lost on the TPN’s fel­low glob­al­ists. World Bank econ­o­mist Dominic Ruiz Devesa, for instance, writ­ing in Free­dom & Union, the jour­nal of the TPN-allied Stre­it Coun­cil, acknowl­edged that this objec­tive fol­lowed the plan of Jean Mon­net, the social­ist “father” of the EU, for total “inte­gra­tion,” not mere­ly eco­nom­ic and trade cooperation.

Thus transat­lantic eco­nom­ic inte­gra­tion, though impor­tant in itself, is not the end,” not­ed Dr. Devesa. “As under­stood by Jean Mon­net, eco­nom­ic inte­gra­tion must and will lead to polit­i­cal inte­gra­tion, since an inte­grat­ed mar­ket requires com­mon insti­tu­tions pro­duc­ing com­mon rules to gov­ern it.” Jean Mon­net, Robert Schu­man, and the oth­er EU archi­tects and their Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts knew that they could not hope to foist this scheme on the peo­ples of Europe if they laid this plan out open­ly and hon­est­ly. As Monnet’s admir­ing biog­ra­phers Serge and Mer­ry Bromberg­er wrote, when Monnet’s coterie of fel­low inter­na­tion­al­ists saw his plan for “the project” that would evolve into the EU, they rec­og­nized that an “idea of rev­o­lu­tion­ary dar­ing” was being born.

Grad­u­al­ly, it was thought, the supra­na­tion­al author­i­ties, super­vised by the Euro­pean Coun­cil of Min­is­ters at Brus­sels and the Assem­bly in Stras­bourg, would admin­is­ter all the activ­i­ties of the Con­ti­nent,” wrote the Bromberg­ers. “A day would come when gov­ern­ments would be forced to admit that an inte­grat­ed Europe was an accom­plished fact, with­out their hav­ing had a say in the estab­lish­ment of its under­ly­ing prin­ci­ples. All they would have to do was to merge all these autonomous insti­tu­tions into a sin­gle fed­er­al admin­is­tra­tion and then pro­claim a Unit­ed States of Europe.”

The EU archi­tects, not­ed the Bromberg­ers, “would have to obtain from the var­i­ous nation­al gov­ern­ments … a whole series of con­ces­sions in regard to their sov­er­eign rights until, hav­ing been final­ly stripped, they com­mit­ted hara-kiri by accept­ing the merger.”

This nation­al “hara-kiri” — sui­cide by dis­em­bow­el­ment — is an apro­pos descrip­tion of the total “inte­gra­tion” scheme that is now being com­plet­ed in the EU, and which the TTIP/TPP archi­tects now intend to foist on the Unit­ed States. Their phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess thus far is due to their prowess at lying and deceiv­ing, and their infil­tra­tion and grad­ual con­trol over polit­i­cal, finan­cial, aca­d­e­m­ic, and media institutions.

One of the many auda­cious admis­sions along these lines is pro­vid­ed by Arnold J. Toyn­bee, the famous his­to­ri­an of the Roy­al Insti­tute of Inter­na­tion­al Affairs (oth­er­wise known as Chatham House). “I will mere­ly repeat that we are at present work­ing, dis­creet­ly, but with all our might, to wrest this mys­te­ri­ous polit­i­cal force called sov­er­eign­ty out of the clutch­es of the local nation­al states of our world,” he wrote in the Chatham House jour­nal Inter­na­tion­al Affairs, in 1931. “And,” he con­tin­ued, “all the time we are deny­ing with our lips what we are doing with our hands.”

Chatham House is one of the TPN’s “Coop­er­at­ing Insti­tu­tions,” a ver­i­ta­ble A‑list of glob­al­ist orga­ni­za­tions that have been lead­ing the push toward world gov­ern­ment for much of the past cen­tu­ry: Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions, Aspen Insti­tute, Brook­ings Insti­tu­tion, Carnegie Endow­ment for Inter­na­tion­al Peace, Atlantic Coun­cil of the Unit­ed States, U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce, Euro­pean-Amer­i­can Busi­ness Coun­cil — and many more.

For much of its exis­tence, the TPN has been led by top one-worlder Peter Suther­land: TPN found­ing pres­i­dent and cur­rent­ly TPN EU hon­orary pres­i­dent, chair­man of Gold­man Sachs Inter­na­tion­al and British Petro­le­um, the first direc­tor gen­er­al of the World Trade Orga­ni­za­tion (WTO), steer­ing com­mit­tee mem­ber of the Bilder­berg Group, cur­rent­ly hon­orary chair­man of the Tri­lat­er­al Com­mis­sion, and for­mer­ly Euro­pean chair­man of the Tri­lat­er­al Commission.

TTIP is the cul­mi­na­tion of a long jour­ney that began in the 1990s, with many starts and stops along the way,” says the TPN, in its 2013 report The Transat­lantic Trade and Invest­ment Part­ner­ship: Com­plet­ing the Strate­gic Vision. “TPN sem­i­nars for pol­i­cy mak­ers and busi­ness lead­ers,” it notes, “have been instru­men­tal in the cre­ation of the New Transat­lantic Agen­da, the Transat­lantic Busi­ness Dia­logue, the Transat­lantic Eco­nom­ic Part­ner­ship and the Transat­lantic Eco­nom­ic Coun­cil, all pre­cur­sors of the TTIP. TPN annu­al reports have raised ambi­tions and framed the debate over the future of the transat­lantic eco­nom­ic and strate­gic part­ner­ship.” In truth, the TPN pro­gram, as detailed in its reports and sem­i­nars, has been more than “instru­men­tal”; it is no exag­ger­a­tion to say that the TPN merg­er agen­da has been trans­ferred vir­tu­al­ly word-for-word, point-by-point, into offi­cial pol­i­cy by U.S. and EU pres­i­dents, prime min­is­ters, and leg­is­la­tors. The New Amer­i­can has pre­vi­ous­ly exposed the TPN, but the vast major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans have nev­er heard of the orga­ni­za­tion and have not the slight­est inkling that it pos­es an immi­nent threat to our nation. But with the TTIP and TPP about to be act­ed on in Con­gress, it is vital that every Amer­i­can be alert­ed to the fact that some of our top elect­ed offi­cials in Con­gress are also lead­ing lights in the TPN.

Speak­er of the House John Boehn­er (R‑Ohio) and House Major­i­ty Leader Kevin Brady (R‑Texas) are TPN mem­bers, as are fel­low House Repub­li­cans John Mica of Flori­da, Dar­rell Issa of Cal­i­for­nia, and Ken­ny Marchant of Texas. TPN mem­bers among the House Democ­rats include Jim Cos­ta and Susan Davis of Cal­i­for­nia, Ron Kind of Wis­con­sin, and Sander Levin of Michi­gan. The Senate’s five TPN mem­bers include four Repub­li­cans: Thad Coch­ran, Mis­sis­sip­pi; Mark Kirk, Illi­nois; Pat Roberts, Kansas; and Roger Wick­er, Mis­sis­sip­pi. Bar­bara Mikul­s­ki of Mary­land is cur­rent­ly the sole Sen­ate Demo­c­rat mem­ber of the TPN.

In its 1998 report Toward Transat­lantic Part­ner­ship, the TPN makes this boast: “The TPN Con­gres­sion­al Group has 35 Mem­bers of the Unit­ed States Sen­ate and Con­gress com­mit­ted to the objec­tives of TPN.” Of con­cern here is what it means for these mem­bers of Con­gress to be “com­mit­ted to the objec­tives of TPN.” Can they be com­mit­ted to those “objec­tives” and their oath to the Con­sti­tu­tion at the same time? Any­one tak­ing the time to study the TPN’s reports, stud­ies, arti­cles, and sem­i­nars would have to answer in the negative.

Oath Break­ers

The TPN’s sub­stan­tial influ­ence derives from the coor­di­nat­ed actions of its mem­bers and asso­ciates in pol­i­tics, busi­ness, finance, acad­eme, and think tanks. Its elite cor­po­rate mem­ber­ship includes such too-big-to-fail “bailout kings” as JPMor­gan, Citibank, and HSBC, as well as the usu­al line­up of “crony cap­i­tal­ist” multi­na­tion­als that feed at the pub­lic trough and ben­e­fit from gov­ern­ment inter­ven­tion­ism and tax­pay­er largess through “pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ships”: Cater­pil­lar, Time-Warn­er, Boe­ing, Microsoft, Ora­cle, Pfiz­er, Dis­ney, Hewlett Packard, Coca-Cola, GE, IBM, Eli Lil­ly, Amgen, BASF — to name a few.

The TPN’s affil­i­a­tion and coop­er­a­tion with the Stre­it Coun­cil pro­vides fur­ther con­fir­ma­tion of the region­al and even glob­al gov­er­nance envi­sioned by TPN. Named for Clarence Stre­it (1896–1986), the for­mer New York Times writer who was an ardent cam­paign­er for EU-style glob­al gov­ern­ment, the coun­cil con­tin­ues to pro­mote the agen­da laid out in his best-sell­ing book, Union Now (1939), and Freedom’s Fron­tier: Atlantic Union Now (1961). Many TPN mem­bers, includ­ing mem­bers of Con­gress, reg­u­lar­ly write for the Stre­it Council’s Free­dom & Union jour­nal and speak at its con­fer­ences. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jim Cos­ta (D‑Calif.), for instance, authored an arti­cle for the same issue cit­ed above with Dr. Devesa’s essay, in which he (Cos­ta) notes that the TPN mem­bers “Agree to a tar­get date of 2015 to com­plete the transat­lantic mar­ket between the Unit­ed States and Europe.” That was eight years ago, and here we are, 2015, and — mirabile dic­tuTTIP is right on schedule!

Again, it must be asked: Can mem­bers of Con­gress be true to their oaths and the TPN’s objec­tives? The TPN calls for polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic, mil­i­tary, and secu­ri­ty “inte­gra­tion” between the Euro­pean Union and the Unit­ed States. It calls for the “exist­ing inter-par­lia­men­tary exchange” between mem­bers of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and the U.S. Con­gress to be “trans­formed into a de fac­to ‘Transat­lantic Assem­bly,’” which, pre­sum­ably, would grad­u­al­ly usurp con­trol over Amer­i­can nation­al, state, and local law­mak­ing in the same man­ner that the EU Par­lia­ment (along with the EU exec­u­tive and judi­cial struc­tures) has seized con­trol in Europe.

In 2007, Pres­i­dent Bush, Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel (who was then serv­ing as pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Coun­cil), and then-Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent José Manuel Bar­roso set up the Transat­lantic Eco­nom­ic Coun­cil (TEC), pre­cise­ly as rec­om­mend­ed by the TPN (and as envi­sioned by Clarence Stre­it). Fol­low­ing the meth­ods advo­cat­ed by Mon­net and prac­ticed in the EU, Bush, Merkel, and Bar­roso cre­at­ed this offi­cial body that is car­ry­ing out far-reach­ing sub­ver­sion of our nation­al sov­er­eign­ty, with­out any con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment and with­out any leg­is­la­tion from Con­gress — indeed, with bare­ly a peep from Con­gress, oth­er than the prais­es sung by the TPN choir.

The TPN mem­bers of the U.S. Con­gress and their fel­low TTIP/TPP pro­mot­ers in the House and Sen­ate are, in fact, act­ing as agents of the TPN and the glob­al­ist think tanks and cor­po­ra­tions behind it, to cause the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment — a la the Mon­net Plan — to com­mit hara-kiri.

ObamaTrade’s Hand­maid­ens

In his State of the Union address on Jan­u­ary 20, 2015, Pres­i­dent Oba­ma her­ald­ed Amer­i­can exporters as the key to job cre­ation and declared “new trade part­ner­ships with Europe and the Asia-Pacif­ic will help them cre­ate more jobs.” “We need to work togeth­er,” the pres­i­dent said, “on tools like bipar­ti­san trade pro­mo­tion author­i­ty [TPA] to pro­tect our work­ers, pro­tect our envi­ron­ment, and open new mar­kets to new goods stamped ‘Made in the USA.’”

Repub­li­can law­mak­ers applaud­ed this renewed White House push for the TTIP and TPP.

How­ev­er, these agree­ments are stir­ring wide­spread, fierce oppo­si­tion as more and more Amer­i­cans (as well as cit­i­zens in Europe and the Asia-Pacif­ic nations) are becom­ing aware that these “part­ner­ships” are about far, far more than trade and tar­iffs. After all, our tar­iffs are already at an all-time low — an issue itself that is wor­thy of vig­or­ous debate. How­ev­er, from what is already known from the administration’s own state­ments and pub­lic­i­ty releas­es, as well as from offi­cial texts that have been leaked, the TPP and TTIP deal with a mul­ti­tude of issues — from alter­na­tive ener­gy, glob­al warm­ing, sus­tain­able devel­op­ment, and immi­gra­tion, to home­land secu­ri­ty, glob­al mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion, copy­right enforce­ment, Inter­net control/censorship — and much more.

The web­site of the U.S. trade rep­re­sen­ta­tive lists the fol­low­ing as some of the areas that are being nego­ti­at­ed in the secret TTIP con­fer­ences: “Agri­cul­tur­al Mar­ket Access, Com­pe­ti­tion, Cross-Bor­der Ser­vices, Cus­toms and Trade Facil­i­ta­tion, Elec­tron­ic Com­merce and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, Ener­gy and Raw Mate­ri­als, Envi­ron­ment Finan­cial Ser­vices, Gov­ern­ment Pro­cure­ment, Intel­lec­tu­al Prop­er­ty Rights, Invest­ment, Labor, … Rules of Ori­gin, San­i­tary and Phy­tosan­i­tary (SPS) Mea­sures, Sec­toral Annexes/Regulatory Coop­er­a­tion, Small- and Medi­um-Sized Enter­pris­es, State-Owned Enter­pris­es, Tech­ni­cal Bar­ri­ers to Trade (TBT), Tex­tiles, Trade Remedies.”

As EU Trade Com­mis­sion­er Cecil­ia Malm­strom stat­ed — in what was prob­a­bly an acci­den­tal act of can­dor — the TTIP “is not just anoth­er trade nego­ti­a­tion.” That much is strik­ing­ly obvi­ous. The same is true for the TPP.

At present, the TPP con­sists of the Unit­ed States, Japan, Aus­tralia, Peru, Malaysia, Viet­nam, New Zealand, Chile, Sin­ga­pore, Cana­da, Mex­i­co, and Brunei Darus­salam. Com­mu­nist Chi­na has sig­naled that it may want to join, and U.S. offi­cials say they’re fine with that. Rus­sia is also a TPP can­di­date. Ulti­mate­ly, say the TPP pro­po­nents, the “part­ner­ship” will be “widened” — in the same way that the EU has been — to take on more mem­bers, until it cul­mi­nates in a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacif­ic (FTAAP) that includes vir­tu­al­ly all of the Pacif­ic Rim nations. In tan­dem with the “widen­ing” process is the “deep­en­ing” process, by which the region­al exec­u­tive bureau­cra­cy, leg­isla­tive body, and judi­cial tri­bunals steadi­ly assert ever more author­i­ty over vir­tu­al­ly every sphere of human activity.

One of the ear­li­est authors of the TTIP effort was the late War­ren Christo­pher, who served as sec­re­tary of state to Pres­i­dent Clin­ton and was a for­eign pol­i­cy advi­sor to Pres­i­dent Oba­ma. In a 1995 speech in Madrid, Spain, enti­tled “Chart­ing a Transat­lantic Agen­da for the 21st Cen­tu­ry,” Sec­re­tary Christo­pher declared: “The long term objec­tive is the inte­gra­tion of the economies of North Amer­i­ca and Europe, con­sis­tent with the prin­ci­ples of the WTO [World Trade Orga­ni­za­tion].” This, said he, “will align our efforts to pro­mote transat­lantic inte­gra­tion with the forces of inte­gra­tion around the world.”

Sec­re­tary Christo­pher, who was a direc­tor and vice chair­man of the TPN-allied Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions, a direc­tor of the Tri­lat­er­al Com­mis­sion, and a par­tic­i­pant in the Bilder­berg Group, specif­i­cal­ly com­mend­ed the EU process of “pro­gres­sive­ly clos­er inte­gra­tion, both eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal” as the mod­el to follow.

Glob­al Rules, Glob­al Rulers

We have some idea of where inte­gra­tion “con­sis­tent with the prin­ci­ples of the WTO” is tak­ing us, from recent rul­ings of that glob­al body. Only a few months ago, on Octo­ber 20, 2014, the WTO ruled — for the sec­ond time — that the U.S. Coun­try of Ori­gin Label­ing (COOL) law is ille­gal, even though a U.S. fed­er­al court had upheld the law. COOL, which requires import­ed for­eign meat to car­ry a label nam­ing the coun­try of ori­gin, was chal­lenged as dis­crim­i­na­to­ry by meat exporters from our NAFTA part­ners Mex­i­co and Cana­da. Let us be clear: The COOL law does not pro­hib­it or restrict any prod­uct; it mere­ly says Amer­i­can con­sumers have a right to know where meat is com­ing from, so they can make an informed deci­sion on whether or not to buy it. Sound rea­son­able? The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia Cir­cuit thought so. The U.S. court ruled against Cana­da and Mex­i­co and con­clud­ed that COOL com­plies with the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion and that Con­gress had author­i­ty to enact the law.

But the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion, U.S. laws, and U.S. courts don’t mean any­thing to the WTO — thank you, Sec­re­tary Christo­pher — which ruled against COOL and the right of Amer­i­cans to know if the food they’re eat­ing was pro­duced in a for­eign coun­try. As a side note, more than one legal ana­lyst has not­ed that one of the “judges” on the WTO’s three-mem­ber pan­el that decid­ed the case in favor of Cana­da and Mex­i­co was a Mex­i­can nation­al, a bla­tant con­flict of interest
that vio­lates the basic canons of jurisprudence.

Along the same lines, Viet­nam has threat­ened to sue the Unit­ed States in the WTO if the Unit­ed States impos­es pro­posed more-strin­gent inspec­tion stan­dards on Viet­namese-raised cat­fish, which have been noto­ri­ous for being farmed under heav­i­ly tox­ic conditions.

The WTO’s lit­tle sis­ter, NAFTA, has, like­wise, been flex­ing its judi­cial mus­cles. When NAFTA was being pro­mot­ed as the panacea for our trade and unem­ploy­ment ills, The New Amer­i­can warned that among the many dan­gers posed by the pact would be the cre­ation of NAFTA tri­bunals (in Chap­ter 11 of the agree­ment) that would wreak judi­cial hav­oc. It took a few years for the tri­bunals to be estab­lished and law­suits to be filed, but when the reck­on­ing final­ly start­ed, the NAFTA pro­mot­ers feigned total sur­prise that such a das­tard­ly out­come could pos­si­bly hap­pen. When the high­est court in Mass­a­chu­setts ruled against a Cana­di­an real estate company’s claim, the com­pa­ny appealed the deci­sion to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear its appeal. Case closed, right? Not so; the com­pa­ny took their case to a NAFTA court, which, in 2004, ruled in favor of the Cana­di­ans, over­rul­ing the high­est courts of the State of Mass­a­chu­setts and the Unit­ed States.

John Ker­ry, who was then a U.S. sen­a­tor for Mass­a­chu­setts, attempt­ed to absolve him­self from any cul­pa­bil­i­ty (he had vot­ed for NAFTA) by claim­ing igno­rance. “When we debat­ed NAFTA,” Ker­ry insist­ed, “not a sin­gle word was uttered in dis­cussing Chap­ter 11. Why? Because we didn’t know how this pro­vi­sion would play out. No one real­ly knew just how high the stakes would get.”

We didn’t know”? That’s the defense? But it was Sen­a­tor Kerry’s duty — and the duty of every mem­ber of Con­gress — to know what was in the agree­ment before cast­ing a vote for it. And it just might have been debat­ed thor­ough­ly if Sen­a­tor Ker­ry and his col­leagues had not rushed NAFTA through on “fast track” author­i­ty for Pres­i­dent Clin­ton. Now as sec­re­tary of state, Ker­ry is one of the point men try­ing to fast-track the TPP/TTIP free trade agen­da through for Pres­i­dent Oba­ma. And these are much big­ger agree­ments involv­ing many more coun­tries than the three-mem­ber NAFTA. We know they will offer even more poten­tial for sub­ver­sive attacks on every aspect of our polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic systems.

Baked-in Sub­ver­sion

We know this because sub­ver­sion is baked into the recipe. How do we know this? The chefs tell us so. One exam­ple: On Feb­ru­ary 12, 2013, the Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions (CFR) held a pan­el dis­cus­sion at Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty enti­tled “The G20: Prospects and Chal­lenges for Glob­al Gov­er­nance,” which was video­taped and is avail­able for view­ing on the organization’s web­site. The four pan­elists were dis­mayed that the G20 (the Group of 20 inter­na­tion­al forum of major economies) is so “inef­fec­tive,” lack­ing gen­uine “gov­er­nance” pow­ers. Among the notable com­ments was this approv­ing remark from CFR mem­ber Ian Brem­mer, pres­i­dent of the Eura­sia Group: “The EU is much more sig­nif­i­cant. There’s real sub­ver­sion of sov­er­eign­ty by the EU that works.”

It was appar­ent that the pan­elists all favored this type of EU-style, sov­er­eign­ty-sub­vert­ing “gov­er­nance.” The Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions, as this mag­a­zine has been doc­u­ment­ing for decades, was the brain trust that guid­ed and direct­ed the for­ma­tion of the Euro­pean Com­mon Mar­ket, and helped it along each sov­er­eign­ty-sub­vert­ing step toward its present incar­na­tion as the Euro­pean Union.

In an essay for the November/December 2014 issue of the CFR’s jour­nal For­eign Affairs, U.S. Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Michael Fro­man hymned the prais­es of the TTIP and TPP, and called on Con­gress to pass Trade Pro­mo­tion Author­i­ty (“fast track”) so that Oba­ma­Trade could start per­form­ing its promised eco­nom­ic won­ders. Froman’s piece, “The Strate­gic Log­ic of Trade: New Rules of the Road for the Glob­al Mar­ket,” auda­cious­ly claims that “the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion has worked to make its trade agen­da the most trans­par­ent in U.S. history.”

These efforts,” Fro­man goes on to say, “have giv­en unprece­dent­ed weight to pub­lic input and con­gres­sion­al over­sight.” Incred­i­ble — even for an admin­is­tra­tion as infa­mous­ly brazen for secre­cy, cov­er-up, stonewalling, and lying as the cur­rent one. What “trans­paren­cy” and “con­gres­sion­al over­sight” is Fro­man talk­ing about? It’s not mere­ly “rightwing extrem­ists” and zany “Tea Partiers” who are chal­leng­ing Team Oba­ma on these trans­paren­cy claims; some of the harsh­est crit­i­cism on this score is com­ing from “pro­gres­sives” of his own par­ty: Ore­gon Sen­a­tor Ron Wyden, Mass­a­chu­setts Sen­a­tor Eliz­a­beth War­ren, Ver­mont Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders (who cau­cus­es with Democ­rats), Flori­da Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Alan Grayson, Con­necti­cut Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Rosa DeLau­ro, Cal­i­for­nia Rep­re­sen­ta­tive George Miller, New York Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Nydia Velasquez, Cal­i­for­nia Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Max­ine Waters — and many oth­ers. As we report in more detail in our arti­cle “How to Pass Dis­as­trous Trade Agree­ments,” elect­ed mem­bers of Con­gress have been protest­ing and com­plain­ing to the admin­is­tra­tion for two years that they are being shut out of the nego­ti­a­tions and denied access to the TPP/TTIP doc­u­ments, while spe­cial “cleared” rep­re­sen­ta­tives of, for exam­ple, the Hal­libur­ton Cor­po­ra­tion, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers, and the Motion Pic­ture Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­i­ca are giv­en pass­words to access the doc­u­ments online at their leisure. In 2012, more than 30 law pro­fes­sors signed a let­ter denounc­ing the secre­cy and call­ing for gen­uine “pub­lic trans­paren­cy, account­abil­i­ty and input.” In Decem­ber of 2014, the Elec­tron­ic Free­dom Foun­da­tion and dozens of orga­ni­za­tions from the TPP coun­tries signed a let­ter to the TPP nego­ti­at­ing min­is­ters call­ing for the release of the texts of the TPP agree­ment, which, Froman’s trans­paren­cy asser­tions notwith­stand­ing, still has not been pub­licly released.

Why the secre­cy? What’s there to hide? Plen­ty, as it turns out. Leaked copies of the TPP chap­ter on intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty rights this past year, for instance, touched off glob­al protests as it became known that the TPP text would turn alleged copy­right infringe­ment into a pow­er­ful weapon for pri­vate par­ties and gov­ern­ments to cen­sor dis­tri­b­u­tion of infor­ma­tion over the Internet.

This leaked text also revealed new terms on the mis­use of trade secrets,” notes the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion. “These are dan­ger­ous­ly vague and could be used to enact harsh crim­i­nal pun­ish­ments against any­one who reveals or even access­es infor­ma­tion through an alleged­ly con­fi­den­tial ‘com­put­er sys­tem.’ This lan­guage could have alarm­ing con­se­quences if it oblig­ates nations to enact new laws that could be used to crack down on jour­nal­ists and whistle­blow­ers. It’s no won­der TPP nego­ti­a­tions con­tin­ued to be as secre­tive as ever this year — pol­i­cy­mak­ers are tak­ing advan­tage of back-room pol­i­cy­mak­ing to crim­i­nal­ize the very peo­ple who help pub­lic inter­est groups like EFF under­stand what’s con­tained in these agreements.”

The TTIP and TPP rep­re­sent all-out, full-scale assaults on — and an exis­ten­tial threat to — our nation­al sov­er­eign­ty, our nation­al inde­pen­dence, our con­sti­tu­tion­al form of lim­it­ed gov­ern­ment, and our indi­vid­ual rights and free­doms. Con­gress must reject both the TPP and TTIP. And mem­bers of Con­gress who are mem­bers of the sub­ver­sive TPN must be con­front­ed and pub­licly exposed. And, to make sure that these dan­ger­ous schemes can­not be rushed through Con­gress on the fast track, a suf­fi­cient num­ber of Amer­i­cans must con­vince Con­gress to reject Trade Pro­mo­tion Author­i­ty (TPA).

*     *     *

Is Your Con­gress­man a Mem­ber of the TPN Con­gres­sion­al Group?

A list of the U.S. sen­a­tors and rep­re­sen­ta­tives who belong to the Transat­lantic Pol­i­cy Net­work Con­gres­sion­al Group, as cur­rent­ly list­ed on the TPN web­site, fol­lows. (Note: TPN House mem­ber Eric Can­tor was defeat­ed in the 2014 Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry. John Din­gell, Doc Hast­ings, Mike McIn­tyre, James Moran, and Allyson Schwartz retired in Jan­u­ary 2015.)


Thad Cochran (R‑Miss.)
Mark Kirk (R‑Ill.)
Bar­bara Mikul­s­ki (D‑Md.)
Pat Roberts (R‑Kan.)
Roger Wick­er (R‑Miss.)


Mar­sha Black­burn (R‑Tenn.)
John Boehn­er (R‑Ohio)
Kevin Brady (R‑Texas)
Eric Can­tor (R‑Va.)
Michael Conaway (R‑Texas)
Jim Cos­ta (D‑Calif.)
Joseph Crow­ley (D‑N.Y.)
Susan Davis (D‑Calif.)
John Din­gell (D‑Mich.)
Eliot Engel (D‑N.Y.)
Sam Farr (D‑Calif.)
Bob Good­lat­te (R‑Va.)
Doc Hast­ings (R‑Wash.)
Steve Israel (D‑N.Y.)
Dar­rell Issa (R‑Calif.)
Ron Kind (D‑Wis.)
Sander Levin (D‑Mich.)
Ken­ny Marchant (R‑Texas)
Jim McDer­mott (D‑Wash.)
Mike McIn­tyre (D‑N.C.)
John Mica (R‑Fla.)
Can­dice Miller (R‑Mich.)
James Moran (D‑Va.)
Erik Paulsen (R‑Minn.)
Ed Perl­mut­ter (D‑Colo.)
Collin Peter­son (D‑Minn.)
Den­nis Ross (R‑Fla.)
Ed Royce (R‑Calif.)
Allyson Schwartz (D‑Pa.)
F. James Sensen­bren­ner (R‑Wis.)
Fred Upton (R‑Mich.)
Greg Walden (R‑Ore.)
Joe Wil­son (R‑S.C.)