Mass European Protest against TTIP corporate Takeover: EU Commission Sanctions “Revolution Against Law”

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has its objectors – mainly the citizens of the countries involved in what can only be seen as confirmation of a corporate takeover. Governments have confirmed that democracy is no longer a principle worth pursuing.

12/07/2014 - Protestors against the EU-US trade deal (TTIP - Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) outside the Houses of Parliament march to Europe House, the London Headquarters of the European Commission and the European Parliament, in Smith Square, London.

12/07/2014 – Protestors against the EU-US trade deal (TTIP – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership)

Three million citizens have signed a petition voicing their opposition, of which 500,000 were from Britain alone.

One month ago at least 250,000 people marched in Berlin in protest against TTIP. Nearly 500 organisations have emerged with literally millions of followers who object to TTIP. The largest ever survey carried out by the EU Commission resulted in 97% of citizens being against TTIP in any form. All ignored.

As Rosa Pavanelli, Public Services International General Secretary puts it – “what has democracy come to when the community must rely on Wikileaks to find out what our governments are doing on our behalf”.

Various leaks only go to highlight the cat and mouse game being played by the nations negotiating TTIP that only raises further citizen concerns that secret meetings are only secret as they are not in the interests of people or individual nations.

A respected human-rights expert at the United Nations, Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, says “there is a hierarchy of agreements, and at the top is the UN Charter: in case of conflict between the provisions of the UN Charter and any other treaty, the Charter prevails.” In other words, trade treaties that lead to a violation of human rights — or breach any other obligation set out in the UN Charter — are legally invalid. Most countries have signed onto human rights treaties, but “they have also entered into trade and investment agreements that hinder, delay or render impossible the fulfillment of their human rights treaty obligations.”

He goes one step further ““Allowing private arbitrators to disregard international and national law … is tantamount to a revolution against law .” The United Nations has actually called for a suspension of TTIP talks on the basis that its tactics used by multinationals in courts outside of public jurisdiction would undermine democracy and law.

The British government stance on this is well known. Their own website states “UK national income could rise by between £4 billion and £10 billion annually, with the main gains being generated by the liberalisation of non-tariff barriers.” Double speak for reducing standards to meet the common denominator and accede to corporate power.

So far, most of the opposition to TTIP has concentrated on the controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause which will allow US corporations to sue EU governments for any decision that could harm their profits. But there is far more to TTIP than just secret corporate courts.

GlobalJustice.org.uk explains the dangers posed by the innocuously named regulatory cooperation chapter of TTIP (also commonly referred to as regulatory coherence) which could lead to a race to the bottom on key regulations in areas such as food safety and environmental protection.

Corporate lobbyists have expressed the hope that cooperation will make them so powerful that it will allow them to effectively ’co-write’ regulation with policymakers in each country, completely bypassing citizen concerns and previously enforced protection systems and laws.

GlobalJustice identifies that “to most people, regulations such as air pollution limits and food safety standards are common sense protections against dangerous threats. However, to many big businesses, these rules are just red tape or non-tariff barriers to trade (NTBs) which inhibit profits and are identified as such during trade negotiations. In fact, proponents of TTIP say that 80% of the supposed benefits of the deal will come from getting rid of these rules”.

It now appears that TTIP has in fact started to change previous protections in Europe without debate. For instance, the EU Commission has now dropped previous recognition of cosmetics standards. In essence, this is a serious deregulation of cosmetic ingredients and the amended paper with the TTIP agreement no longer contains a reference to “mutual recognition” of banned and authorised substances in cosmetics.

How bad is this one may ask. The EU Commission is now stating (in an attempt to put a good spin on the story) that it would accept banned chemicals in cosmetics, which would significantly risk lowering safety standards in the EU. More than 1,300 substances are prohibited in cosmetics in the EU, while only 11 are in the US. That includes lead in your lipstick.

How does the EU get away with this? While producing lipstick that contains lead would still be illegal in the EU, US companies will still be able to export it to the EU as long as it passes US safety tests.

It gets worse as it turns out that US officials have successfully used TTIP proposals to bully the EU into disregarding plans to ban 31 dangerous pesticides with ingredients that have been shown to cause cancer and infertility.

In a similar situation, the EU had previously banned the treatment of beef with certain acids being used to conceal poor and unhygienic practices common in the US. EU commission officials pressured MEP’s in stating that TTIP negotiations will be threatened if the EU ban wasn’t lifted. The pressure was great enough that MEP’s then repealed the ban.

The EU has now implemented a programme called ‘Better Regulation”. This is designed to reduce the regulatory burden and seeks to eradicate new rules on things like safe levels of chemicals. Trade unions say that Better Regulation has already been responsible for 100,000 deaths from cancer.

America, along with its ‘partners’ is designing a new world order all of its own. The TTIP agreement is as dangerous to world harmony as the cold war because that is what the agreement will become.  Its aims are clear – to create a global economic arena outside of the WTO framework. Its sees TTIP as an opportunity as part of a much wider picture as a geopolitical economic strategy against the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

These negotiations will end with 53 countries accounting for two thirds of the global economy. The treatywill create a new international legal regime that will allow transnational corporations to bypass domestic courts, evade environmental protections, police the internet on behalf of the content industry, limit the availability of affordable generic medicines, and drastically curtail each country’s legislative sovereignty. US Senator Elizabeth Warren has said “They can’t make this deal public because if the American people saw what was in it, they would be opposed to it.”

The EU has admitted that TTIP will probably cause unemployment as jobs switch to the US, where labour standards and trade union rights are lower. It has even advised EU members, including Britain to draw on European support funds to compensate for the expected unemployment.

Britain’s most powerful TTIP advocate, an anti-democractic corporate public relations lobbyist masquerading as Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to “fire rocket boosters‘ under the deal without public debate on the world’s largest agreement of its type ever considered.

David Cameron went to considerable length to assure people the NHS was not part of the deal.  The government spent months trying to brush the threat of TTIP under the carpet but massive public pressure has forced the them to admit the NHS is part of the deal and therefore at threat from American corporations looking to cash-in from the multi-billion dollar health service as a profit centre.

Currently, there are around 500 cases of businesses versus nations going on around the world as a direct result of TTIP like agreements and they are all taking place before ‘arbitration tribunals’ made up of corporate lawyers appointed on an ad hoc basis, which according to War on Want’s John Hilary, are “little more than kangaroo courts” with “a vested interest in ruling in favour of business.”

John McDonnell, the UK’s shadow chancellor, has described TTIP as “toxic” and resulting in a huge transfer of powers to Brussels and corporate interests. What then if Britain leaves the EU?

TTIP has nothing to do with citizens or their rights. It is about forcing governments to see the whole of society from the single viewpoint of big business. The UN expert, Alfred-Maurice de Zayas is right – this is a revolution against the law.

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#protest, #protests, #ttip, #ttp

‘Worse Than We Thought’: TPP A Total Corporate Power Grab Nightmare

“Worse than anything we could’ve imagined.”

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As expert analysis of the long-shrouded, newly publicized TransPacific Partnership (TPP) final text continued to roll out on Thursday, consensus formed around one fundamental assessment of the 12-nation pact: It’s worse than we thought.

“From leaks, we knew quite a bit about the agreement, but in chapter after chapter the final text is worse than we expected.”
—Lori Wallach, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

“From leaks, we knew quite a bit about the agreement, but in chapter after chapter the final text is worse than we expected with the demands of the 500 official U.S. trade advisers representing corporate interests satisfied to the detriment of the public interest,” saidLori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

In fact, Public Citizen charged, the TPP rolls back past public interest reforms to the U.S. trade model while expanding  problematic provisions demanded by the hundreds of official U.S. corporate trade advisers who had a hand in the negotiations while citizens were left in the dark.

On issues ranging from climate change to food safety, from open Internet to access to medicines, the TPP “is a disaster,” declared Nick Dearden of Global Justice Now.

“Now that we’ve seen the full text, it turns out the job-killing TPP is worse than anything we could’ve imagined,” added Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America. “This agreement would push down wages, flood our nation with unsafe imported food, raise the price of life-saving medicine, all the while trading with countries where gays and single mothers can be stoned to death.”

Furthermore, Friends of the Earth (FOE) said in its response to the final text, the agreement “is designed to protect ‘free trade’ in dirty energy products such as tar sands oil, coal from the Powder River Basin, and liquefied natural gas shipped out of West Coast ports.” The result, FOE warned, will be “more climate change from carbon emissions across the Pacific.”

“President Obama has sold the American people a false bill of goods,” said FOE president Erich Pica. “The TransPacific Partnership fails President Obama’s pledge to make the TPP an environmentally sound trade agreement.”

International observers were no less critical. Matthew Rimmer, a professor of intellectual property and innovation law at Australia’s Queensland University of Technology and trade policy expert, told Fairfax Media it looks like U.S. trade officials have been “greenwashing” the agreement.

“The environment chapter confirms some of the worst nightmares of environmental groups and climate activists,” Rimmer told the news outlet. “The agreement has poor coverage of environmental issues, and weak enforcement mechanisms. There is only limited coverage of biodiversity, conservation, marine capture fisheries, and trade in environmental services.”

‘Attack Sensible Food Safety Rules’

With its provisions that tie the hands of food inspectors at international borders and give more power to biotechnology firms, “the TPP is a giveaway to big agribusiness and food companies,” said Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch executive director. Such corporate entities, she said, want to use trade deals like the TPP “to attack sensible food safety rules, weaken the inspection of imported food, and block efforts to strengthen U.S. food safety standards.”

“The TPP food safety and labeling provisions are worse than expected and bad news for American consumers and farmers.”
—Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch

Last month, the Center for Food Safety outlined the top five reasons “eaters should be worried about Obama’s new trade deal.” At the top of the list was the TPP’s ability to undermine efforts to label GMO foods. “More broadly,” the Center wrote in October, “any U.S. food safety rules on labeling, pesticides, or additives that [are] higher than international standards could be subject to challenge as ‘illegal trade barriers’.”

Indeed, according to Food & Water Watch, the final text released Thursday indicates that under a TPP regime, “agribusiness and biotech seed companies can now more easily use trade rules to challenge countries that ban GMO imports, test for GMO contamination, do not promptly approve new GMO crops or even require GMO labeling.”

“The TPP food safety and labeling provisions are worse than expected and bad news for American consumers and farmers,” said Hauter. “Congress must reject this raw deal that handcuffs food safety inspectors and exposes everyone to a rising tide of unsafe imported food.”

‘Death Warrant for the Open Internet’

“If U.S. Congress signs this agreement despite its blatant corruption, they’ll be signing a death warrant for the open Internet and putting the future of free speech in peril,” stated Evan Greer, Fight for the Future (FFTF) campaign director.

“If U.S. Congress signs this agreement despite its blatant corruption, they’ll be signing a death warrant for the open Internet and putting the future of free speech in peril.”
—Evan Greer, Fight for the Future

Among the “several sections of grave concern” identified by FFTF are those covering trademarks, pharmaceutical patents, copyright protections, and “trade secrets.”

Section J, which addresses Internet Service Providers (ISPs) “is one of the worst sections that impacts the openness of the Internet,” according to the digital rights group, which explained further:

This section requires Internet Service Providers to play “copyright cops” and assist in the enforcement of copyright takedown requests — but it does not require countries to have a system for counter-notices, so a U.S company could order a website to be taken down in another country, and there would be no way for the person running that website to refute their claims if, say, it was a political criticism website using copyrighted content in a manner consistent with fair use.

Section J makes it so ISPs are not liable for any wrongdoing when they take down content—incentivizing them to err on the side of copyright holders rather than on the side of free speech.

‘Public Review Is Needed’

Like-minded groups in Canada, where newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been on the job for all of one day, are sounding similar alarms.

Citing concerns about how the deal would impact human rights, health, employment, environment, and democracy, the Council of Canadians on Thursday demanded a full public consultation—including an independent human rights, economic, and environmental review of the document—before Trudeau goes any further. The group expressed particular concern over investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions, which allow corporations to sue states for lost profits, asking that they be excised from the deal.

“Trudeau is under a lot of pressure to adopt this deal as soon as possible, with calls already coming in from U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese President Shinto Abe,” acknowledged the Council’s national chairperson, Maude Barlow. “But a thorough public review is needed before he can establish whether the TPP is truly in Canada’s interest.”

Or anyone else’s, for that matter.


Text sources- http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/11/05/worse-we-thought-tpp-total-corporate-power-grab-nightmare


#activism, #protest, #protests, #ttip, #ttp, #worse-than-we-thought

Fife council latest to declare opposition to TTIP corporate pact

GRASSROOTS OPPOSITION to the EU-US corporate pact known as ‘TTIP’ is growing across Scotland with Fife council becoming the fourth to declare itself a “TTIP free zone”.001

The motion – brought to the council following an active community campaign – was endorsed by both the SNP and Labour in a move that signals growing discontent against the power grab driven by American and European corporations.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership has faced opposition concerning its secret negotiations between big business, with leaked documents suggesting any deal will erode environmental, labour and food standards.

Secret corporate courts – enshrined by a practice known as the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) – would risk opening the door to further NHS privatisation as corporate giants can then sue governments for not tending out public services into the private market under the guise of ensuring ‘competition’.

The motion presented to Fife council by councillor Karen Marjoram was opposed to TTIP’s secretive and undemocratic framework, the details of which have not been released despite opposition from over 3 million European citizens.

The motion was then strengthened by a Labour amendment, which supported a complete rejection of ISDS corporate courts.

Jean Kemp, an activist with St Andrews TTIP action group, was exctatic about the news: “Fife council has voted to reject TTIP in its entirety! Thank you Councillor Marjoram for proposing the motion. You did us proud.

“Councillor Marjoram’s motion was a good one and in line with SNP policy, but Councillor Judy Hamilton (Labour) tabled an amendment which strengthened the motion to a degree even we most optimistic TTIPers had not expected – no ISDS, not even ISDS-lite. Outright opposition to TTIP.

“The leader of the council will write to COSLA to express this outright opposition, to inform the Scottish Government and UK Government of Fife’s total opposition, to call on Scottish Government to publish an impact assessment, and to work with local and European campaigning bodies.”

Councillor Karen Marjoram, who brought forward the proposal, told Kingdom FM: “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations are secretive and undemocratic, all available information on this deal comes from leaked documents, and from Freedom of Information requests.

“If this assault on democracy was not enough, it’s the covert nature of these talks that causes me concern.”

Last week Scottish Labour joined the Scottish Green Party in supporting complete opposition to TTIP.

Following dedicated campaigning by community groups and Global Justice Now, all SNP MPs have signed up to oppose ISDS and the regulatory framework of TTIP. Campaigners at the party’s conference called for the party to completely oppose the deal. Activists recently travelled to London to make this case to Scottish MPs.

Fife follows Edinburgh, Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire councils in opposing TTIP.

Picture courtesy of Scotland against TTIP


Article from- https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/2855/fife-council-latest-to-declare-opposition-to-ttip-corporate-pact


#activism, #deal, #protest, #protests, #trade, #ttip, #ttp

Big business-funded committee must not influence TTIP talks, says campaigner

Secretive EU-US trade negotiations that could enable corporations to sue governments were infiltrated by a British committee that peddles the interests of the City of London while bypassing parliament, it has emerged.

Academic and campaigner Linda Kaucher, who has long criticized the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) treaty, said the negotiations are heavily influenced by Big Tobacco and British financiers.

The high-profile activist, who is a member of StopTTIP UK, made the remarks after it emerged the European Commission (EC) had met with powerful tobacco lobbyists in recent months.

READ MORE

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#activism, #activist, #ttip

THOUSANDS TO DEMONSTRATE AGAINST TTIP ‘CORPORATE STITCH-UP’

Thousands of people across the UK are set to protest this weekend against the “corporate stitch-up” Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and the European Union.

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The “day of action” will see hundreds of small protests held all over the country. They are being organised by  campaign group 38 Degrees. So far, almost 2.5 million people have signed their Europe-wide petition against the underhand deal.

Demonstrations will be held at dozens of locations in London today, at eight sites aroundManchester, in Bristol, Lincoln in Lincolnshire, Bexhill-on-Sea in East Sussex, Morpeth in Northumberland and in many other towns.

The last 38 Degrees “day of action” against TTIP was in October 2014, when protests were held in 575 locations across the UK.

Demonstrations were also held across Europe in April including 2,000 taking to the streets in Brussels, 1,000 in Madrid and Helsinki and about 300 in Warsaw and Prague.

At that time, a YouGov poll found that 43 per cent of Germans believe TTIP would be bad for their country, compared to 26 per cent who viewed it as positive.


Some of the above article is copied from here , however extensive edits have been made not to promote political parties as per JSUK News guidelines.


#protest, #protests, #ttip

Health protesters campaign against NHS privatisation

A Sheffield health protest group took to the Town Hall to campaign against NHS privatisation.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a trade agreement with the United States of America set to be introduced by the European Union.

The People’s NHS Sheffield have been rallying MPs about TTIP – which they say will lead to the ‘irreversible’ sell-off of the NHS.

Scott Winwood, aged 38, from Croo2155627905kes, a campaigner for the group, said: “The rally is to make people aware of the impact of TTIP.

“Within TTIP, there is a clause called the Investment State Dispute Settlement.

“That is a clause that will allow multinational corporations to sue governments if and when governments decide to bring services back into public ownership.

“What we argue is that that clause will put the NHS at risk of irreversible privatisation.

“We are trying to put pressure on Sheffield MPs to support a pledge against TTIP.”


From- http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/video-health-protesters-campaign-against-nhs-privatisation-1-7365867


#nhs-2, #protest, #ttip

‘TTIP discussed in absolute secrecy’

7 months ago…

 

#deal, #deals, #european, #eurozone, #ttip